A Blessing for Animals To Celebrate St. Francis

by Christine Sine

by The Rev. Elaine H. Breckenridge 

Glorious God, we give you greeting!
Let Sister Earth and Brother Sun praise you.
Let the fields and forests praise you.
Let the birds and beasts praise you.
Let everything that has breath praise you,
Mother and Father of all that has Being.

  A Holy Island Prayer Book by Ray Simpson 

Leader Ask. Ask the animals,
People and they will teach you;

Leader: ask the birds of the air,
People: and they will tell you;

Leader: ask the plants of the earth,
People: and they will show you;

Leader: ask the fish of the sea
People: and they will declare to you.

Leader: Who among all these does not know
People: that the hand of God has done this?

Leader: In God’s hand is the life of every living thing
People: and the breath of every human being.  

    A Holy Island Prayer Book by Ray Simpson 

A Reading from the Book of Genesis 

God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So, God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind and the cattle of every kind and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:20-24)

Reader: Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s People.
People: Thanks be to God.

A Reading from the Christian Tradition  

If I were alone in a desert and feeling afraid, I would want an animal to be with me. For then my fear would disappear and I would be made strong. This is what life in itself can do because it is so noble, so full of pleasure and so powerful.  Therefore, let those who bring about wonderful things take an animal to help them. The life within the animal will give them strength in turn. For equality gives strength, in all things and at all times. 

-Meister Eckhart, “Benediction for the Animals,” in Earth Prayers from Around the World by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon 

Reader: Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s People.
People: Thanks be to God.

Individual blessings may be offered over each animal and they may be touched if appropriate using these words:
“Peace be with you, my friend.”   

When all the animals have been blessed, the people may turn to one another and say:
“Peace be with you, my friend.”   

Final Prayer of Blessing   

Blessed are you Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the seas, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We give you thanks for all of these animals and those who care for them. By the power of your love, enable them and all of us to live in peace. Amen.

Glory to you, O God for all of your creation. May we sing your praises and give you thanks forever. Amen.


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