All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.3
Traditional British Hymn
"All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures."
-St. Francis of Assisi
Today I took Nadine the cat to the vet. I rescued Nadine a few months ago. She's pretty gnarly looking, she has chunks out of both her ears, when I got her she was bleeding out of her side. She runs a little crooked and has a permanently bloodshot eye. Obviously someone or something got to her before I did. She has remained very thin. She does have a couple things really going for her in the cat realm. She has beautiful, huge, green eyes that are perfect (despite the bloodshot one) and she is very sweet and trusting. This is totally unusual for a cat that lived a feral lifestyle.
On the way to the vet she became very nervous and had quite the accident in her carrier. This made the vet office smell like death in a litter box. I had to clean it up. I had to clean Nadine up. The vet tested her for Feline AIDS and then decided to give me meds for ringworm and a bladder infection. After paying $98.50 we were out the door. $100 for a cat that I don't want! BLERG.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="272" caption="Nadine"][/caption]
I got back in the car and had to laugh a little. I was trying to do the right thing and it had cost me a pretty penny. You know what's free? Dumping a cat at the pound. You know what else is free? Not caring. Doing the right thing is hard and costly. But it's still the right thing. Sadly, I didn't receive a gold star or a pat on the back for taking in this mess of an animal.
If you are a friend of mine, you are aware of my love of animals. Even if you just meet me and happen to have a cute animal with you, you'll quickly learn of my love of animals. Especially cats. Call me crazy, call me a cat lady. I'm down with the feline species. I've always had cats, I'll always have cats and I will wear my cat shirts with pride! Animals are important to me. They give my everyday life a little extra spark. I hug my parent's dog, Lola when I come to see them. She only has one front leg, so it's a little awkward. She's a joy to see, a survivor and a dog full of life (if not full of limbs...haha. I love that she only has three legs). I talk to animals with the same level of warmth that most people only reserve for a few humans, if any!
Last night I was going through the book of Proverbs. I'm slowly making my way through and drawing pictures next to the verses so I can know where to find the theme I want (i.e. $ next to a verse about money, a ♥ next to a verse about love/marriage, a baby next to parenting proverb). I got to Proverbs 12:10a:
"A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal..."
Guess what I drew next to that verse? Just my patented Leigh-drawing of a cat face. I enjoyed this proverb about animal care, not realizing it's practical application that was coming today. It popped back into my head while I sat in the vets office. I started thinking more about our role as stewards for animals, so I looked into and found the following:
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="362" caption="Lola the three-legged wonder dog!"][/caption]
-Although God is transcendent, He is not too hight to care for animals, but legislates concerning them. (Exodous 20:10, Exodus 23:4, 5, Deut. 22:6)*
-Animals are God's belongings. He created them and everything else in this world (Psalm 104, Psalm 50:10, Psalm 36:6) The world was created to work together and to compliment God. Animals and nature are all a testament to God's sovereignty, or as Martin Luther put it:
God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone,but also on trees,
and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
Animals are one more way that the natural world shows us God's existence.
- We are in charge of the animals and are caretakers. (Genesis 2:19-20) Animals are brought to Adam and he names them. I enjoy naming animals when they are new to my home. I had our dog, Penny Lane, named before we ever found her at the shelter. I wonder if Adam felt a certain thrill when he picked out names like aye-aye, bongo or okapi?
-Animals have feelings and self-awareness. They were given the breath of life by God (Genesis 1:30). Animals have feelings, too. Trust me. My dog Earl is always looking at me like he's guilty. His bug eyes stare into me and long for forgiveness. I know that today Nadine was scared and longed for comfort. She found it in me at the vet's office. We can't deny an animal's needs. I use to be able to watch Animal Cops on Animal Planet. It got to be too much. Neglected, abused and hurting animals were often found in squalor, mistreated for fun or for gain (I didn't want to mention anyone in particular... but, um.. MICHAEL VICK...la-dee-da...). I don't know how these ASPCA cops do it. All of these hurting animals were in their conditions because of the depravity of man (every once in awhile you would see someone with a genuine mental problem that hoarded animals, that doesn't count). When we don't feel for an animal, or when we show one cruelty, we are showing a complete lack of care for God's creation.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="362" caption="Grohl, Maggie Moe and Meaty."][/caption]
I have a tattoo around both my wrists, it's the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. If you don't know him, he's the Patron Saint of Animals. I'm not usually down with the whole Sainthood thing, but I have always been intrigued by the Blessing of the Animals on October 4th (St. Francis of Assisi's Feast Day). It always made the paper. We all know why- that kind of stuff is CUTE. A priest giving some slobbering retriever his blessing, that's my kind of day. Obviously I don't buy all of the myth surrounding St. Francis (his donkey cried after Francis thanked him on his deathbed? He preached to birds as they landed around him? He got to know a vicious wolf and brought him into town? Sounds like a few good Disney movies right there), but I do glean where I can, and I find his attitude towards animals to be nothing more than Biblical. He believed that the world started off as good and perfect because God has made it, but had become corrupted by the fall of man. He preached that man and creature were for the praising and glory of God. He also taught that it was man's duty to oversee and care for animals. St. Francis knew God's creation and loved it because he loved God.
As a Christian who believes that God created animals and gave us stewardship of them, I coughed up my money to help get this kitty Nadine well and to find her a home. I wasn't rewarded, I wasn't praised, but I know in my heart that I've done right by God. I've followed through and cared for an animal that He made, that He knows, that He cares about. That's good enough for me.
I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.