This St Francis Day, we named, celebrated and blessed our animal companions using other people’s prayers. But to remember the animals we love who have died this year, we used our own:
Creator God, when you made the mammals,
the birds, the fish, and even the creepy-crawlies,
you saw that they were good.
Loving God, we pray for the animals
who are no longer with us.
Thank you for their lives.
Thank you for their goodness.
Thank you for the times that we shared,
the gifts we received,
the things we learned,
the affection we knew,
the events and habits which made us laugh,
and even for all the messes.
God, we commit our creaturely kin
back to the earth from which they came
and into the fullness of your loving presence,
and we ask for your comfort in our sadness.
In the name of the one who taught us to pay attention
even to birds: Jesus Christ, our Lord: Amen.
Of course, this prayer was written for a public gathering of people; sometimes we need a prayer to use at home. The above is a guide, but pray how you need, and make your prayer personal. As an example, here’s a prayer I wrote a few years ago for a special dog, Kelly. The children who loved her asked me how to pray, so we workshopped it together and came up with this:
thank you for the life of our friend, Kelly.
Thank you for the good times we shared with her,
for the runs, the cuddles, the tugs of war.
Thank you for the hair on the carpet,
the muddy paw prints,
the chewed up cushions
and the demolished tennis balls.
Thank you for her energy and strength,
her deep affection,
and even for the way she knocked over bins,
ate birthday cakes and biscuits,
and snatched food from little children.
We are angry and sad that she has died.
Be with us in our grief.
Help us express our feelings well,
and let our love for Kelly continue through death and beyond.
God, we give you back our friend Kelly.
We commit her body to the earth,
and her spirited life into your hands. Amen.
For reflection: When a domestic animal dies at your house, how do you pray?
Prayer and reflections from Sanctuary 2 October 2022 (St Francis Day / Blessing of the Animals) © Sanctuary, 2022. Photo by Kevin Quezada on Unsplash. Sanctuary is based on Peek Wurrung country. Acknowledgement of country here.
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