One day a brother brought a rabbit who had been caught in a trap to St. Francis. Francis advised the rabbit to be more alert in the future, then released the rabbit from the trap and set it on the ground to go its way. But the rabbit hopped back up onto Francis’ lap, desiring to be close to the saint.
Francis took the rabbit a few steps into the woods and set it down. But it followed Francis back to his seat and hopped on his lap again! Finally Francis asked one of his fellow friars to take the rabbit far into the woods and let it go. That worked. This type of thing happened repeatedly to Francis—which he saw as an opportunity to praise the glory of God.
I was working with my dog, Jas, in the backyard the other day, and we had such a good time. She thought we were playing games – I thought we were training. (A very nice arrangement!) When we were done, I released her to have free run of the yard, while I went back in the house. Only thing was, Jas never left my side! Every time I took a step, there she was, by my side, looking up at me with the most adoring eyes. It could have been the treats I still had in my bag, but more than that, I know she loves being with me. She looks to me to care for her, to love her, and to protect her.
I think of this often when I am away. She is always so excited to greet me when I come home, no matter how long or short a time I have been gone. Her joy is genuine, and her desire to be with me is complete. She counts on me, and to the best of my ability, I am there for her.
- Think about your relationship with your animal companion.
- What are the gifts your animal companion gives you?
- What are the gifts you give your animal companion?
- How is your relationship with your animal companion similar or different from your relationship with God?
- How is it similar or different from what you would like your relationship with God to be?
Take a moment and look at your pet. Picture holding your pet in your hands and surround your pet with love. Give thanks for this animal in your life.