October 2019

Lord, Make Me an Instrument of My Pets

Blessing of The Animals, October 5, 2019
Genesis 1:20-25
– The Reverend Dr. Arnold Isidore Thomas


Note: On this occasion, Pastor Arnold was invited to conduct a Blessing Service for family pets at Calvary Episcopal Church in Jericho, Vermont.


There’s nothing that will make a minister shorten a sermon faster than knowing that the blessing of the animals will occur inside.

I’m am not the typical pet person, and it’s not because I don’t like pets. But I realize that my priorities are such that I don’t have time to provide the kind of care pets need and a good pet owner should provide.

I’ve also wondered that if I’m trained to pick up after an animal, who’s the real pet and master in this relationship?

My wife Vicky, however, is a well-trained pet owner, be her pets dogs or cats or horses or goats or chickens or even turtles. And the one thing especially dogs and cats seem to pick up very quickly are the vibes of those who could care less about them because, I feel, they’re willing to go the extra mile to make a person like me submit.

“As long as you feed, care for me and shelter me,” they seem to say, “we’re good.” And they will love you, even when you don’t feel like giving or receiving love.

The prayer of Saint Frances, the patron saint of animals whose feast day is celebrate on October 4th, might just as well be the prayer pets offer to God as they deal with their owners:

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

Pets are some of the many ways God pulls us outside ourselves and convinces us that we are capable of both loving and being loved, enabling us to appreciate the prayer of the bumper sticker: “God, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.” Amen.

Dog BlessingMay your life be long, and your food be as yummy as the love you give and receive.

Cat BlessingsMay your life be filled with alluring smells, comforting cushions, fragrant litter, endless places to explore, and a loving owner to return home to.

Fish Blessing – May you always live in clean water and loving care.