|Photo: Nancy Bauer, OSB|
I read about a Minnesota truck driver who saved a 5 month old puppy from a burning barrel. As a Christian and Benedictine, I felt compelled to blog. The pup was abandoned, starving and charred black. The driver whisked it away to a veterinarian who took care of it and named him Phoenix. In Greek mythology, the phoenix is a bird who, after being consumed by fire, is reborn from its own ashes -- an appropriate name for the brave pup. This incident triggered a quotation from an eco-psychology class: “A society is only as healthy as it treats animals and children–those who are most vulnerable.”
St. Benedict, about whom the story is told that he was once fed by a raven, understood that all life is sacred and ought to be cared for with diligence, patience and mercy. I believe this kind of care includes the earth and the animals entrusted to us. Were Benedict the truck driver, he would have rescued the pup. Why? Because Benedict’s Rule teaches reverence for everyone and everything. It encourages a life of connectedness in community and with the larger world—a sacred connectedness that is also union with God.
Elizabeth A Johnson’s recent Commonweal article “At Our Mercy” tells us: “We have failed utterly to protect our planet and those who share it with us. For Christians, this constitutes a profound break with God.” She calls us to rebirth our connectedness with God, nature, and animals, and with all that is entrusted to us. -- Commonweal (January 23, 2014)
Trish Dick, OSB