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All of Life Is Beautiful

It is a source of hope that Pope Francis has taken the name of the Christian saint most associated with concern for nonhuman animals. In addition to emphasizing the need to protect “all of God’s creatures” in his very first homily, Francis once broke protocol by insisting that the canine helper of a sight-impaired journalist be allowed into the hall to greet him. The pope blessed not only the journalist, but gave a “special blessing for your dog, too.”

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Protecting God’s Creation

If anyone needed proof that sin has screwed up our world on a massive scale, all we need to do is ask them look at the horrific and cruel injustices perpetuated upon nonhuman animals. But as Christians we know that Jesus has redeemed human beings and all of creation. This redemption has already happened, but it has not been fully implemented. More work remains. In giving human beings dominion over creation, God has charged each of us with protecting its many creatures—both human and nonhuman. How will we respond?  

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All Creatures Great and Small

Saint Francis invited all of creation—animals, plants, natural forces, even Brother Sun and Sister Moon—to give honor and praise to the Lord. It is my hope that the inspiration of Saint Francis will help us to keep ever alive a sense of fraternity with all those good and beautiful things which Almighty God has created. And may he remind us of our serious obligation to respect and watch over them with care.

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Angels among Us

According to the Christian tradition, angels and humans are capable of knowing and loving God. Angels do this more excellently than humans, but both do it. In the Christian tradition, angels are present not only at miraculous times, they are all around us impacting many aspects of our lives. Saint Bonaventure, a Franciscan friar from the Middle Ages, took it for granted that angels are “circling around us like flies.” Angels, to be certain, give us this lasting comfort: We are never alone.

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Love God, Love Your Neighbor

It is tempting to think of peacefulness as merely the refusal to be violent—especially when we live in a culture that emphasizes the duty to leave others alone. But if it is truly Christian peacefulness, it must involve loving action or charity. Christian charity requires that we imitate Jesus’ active loving-kindness for all. This fulfills Jesus’ central command to love our neighbor as ourselves. Especially if that neighbor is in need, Christianity requires that we come to his or her aid and actively seek justice.

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