February 24

Reflection

The story of Eden has made us believe that animals are for our use. The new story of the Universe teaches us that animals are our relatives sharing our origins and our lives. The difference is that they have retained their innocence and their integrity. They teach us what it means to be whole. The suffering we have inflicted on so many of them to provide for the needs of our consumer society is painful to see and based in a deep lack of understanding of their rights and feelings. We need to readjust our thinking and allow ourselves to love and be loved by an animal. It will sensitize us and enrich us individually, and hopefully make a small change toward attitudes toward these creatures who have the same rights to live happy lives on this planet as we do.

Prayer

May we treat all created beings with respect.

Action

Study the beauty of animal species.  If you have  pets  recognize their intelligence and emotions.  Teach children to be loving and kind toward animals.  If possible adopt a shelter dog or cat. Contribute to an organization against animal cruelty.

Suggested Reading

He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?
Matthew 12:11

Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
Proverbs 12:10

As Sisters of St. Joseph, our charism calls us to love of God and neighbor without distinction.  We believe that all is one and that our call is to an active inclusive love that seeks this union with God and the sacred community of life that includes all of creation – air, soil, water, plants, and animals.  We see ourselves in union with this community that we hold as the neighbor through whom God continues to be revealed.
Sisters of St. Joseph Land Ethic Statement

The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.
Arthur Schopenhauer

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.
Abraham Lincoln

The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?”
Jeremy Bentham

We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.
Albert Schweitzer

We need, in a special way, to work twice as hard to help people understand that the animals are fellow creatures, that we must protect them and love them as we love ourselves.
César Chávez

True benevolence or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathizes with the distress of every creature capable of sensation.
Joseph Addison

Life is life–whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.
Sri Aurobindo

Love of animals is a universal impulse, a common ground on which all of us may meet. By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other.
Louis J. Camuti

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

You have to love animals for what they are or leave them alone. The best thing you can do if you love them is leave them alone and see that other people do too.
Pat Derby

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.
Josh Billings

Time spent with cats is never wasted.
Sigmund Freud

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

Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.
Kinky Friedman

The smallest feline is a masterpiece.
Leonardo da Vinci

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