February 15

Reflection

Animals are here in part to grant glimpses of the grace of beauty. The beauty of the singing of birds is a kind of music in itself, as is the gurgling of a brook, the dashing of ocean waves against a rocky shore, the whistling of the wind in leafy trees. Animals have a sense of their own worth and dignity—a pride at their own unique existence that subtly suggests that no one ever preached to them about original sin. As a result they appear at home with silence, with themselves, and with solitude. I have been amazed in recent years to learn how many animals come out to watch the sunset, for example. Ducks, birds, dogs, and God knows how many smaller creatures have a contemplative side to them that the human species of late has all but forgotten.
Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion

Prayer

May I be sensitized to the wonder I share with all creation.

Action

Do you have time every day to nourish your contemplative side? What is your awareness and sensitivity to the innate nature of animals? Can you accept that all living things are kin? Take time to notice.

Suggested Reading

But ask the animals, now, and they shall teach you; the birds of the sky, and they shall tell you.
Job 12:7

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet our God feeds them.
Matthew 6:26

For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the Earth
Henry Beston

When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble.
Buddha

I was so moved by the intelligence, sense of fun and personalities of the animals I worked with on Babe that by the end of the film I was a vegetarian.
James Cromwell

Killing animals for sport, for pleasure, for adventure, and for hides and furs is a phenomena which is at once disgusting and distressing. There is no justification in indulging is such acts of brutality.
The Dalai Lama

The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.
Charles Darwin

I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.
Ellen DeGeneres

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.
Erich Fromm

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons.  They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.
 Alice Walker

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.
James Herriot

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