This Sunday we celebrate Thanksgiving, and after Mass, we gather on the front steps of St James’ Church to give thanks for and bless our beloved animal companions. Although traditionally, this is done in remembrance of St Francis of Assisi, I think it is particularly appropriate that we happen to be doing it on Thanksgiving, because animals – for many – are family, and the love we share with our animal companions can be a wonderful reminder of the love and blessings God so freely gives us.
Animals whom we share our lives with can remind us, too, of how we ought to love one another: abundantly, gently, and free from judgement. We humans are not always deserving of this kind of love – from our non-human animal friends, let alone from God – yet God goes on loving us regardless. Having an animal love us can be a humbling reminder of this, and one that I know has made me strive to be a better person. I suspect I am not alone in that.
Wherever you find yourself this Thanksgiving, I invite you to join me in giving thanks for the many blessings of this life, and to tell at least one person (or furry being!) whom God has blessed you with, that you are grateful for them.