I freely admit that I am selective about who I friend, what I post and how much I am willing to follow others but tonight as I was scrolling through the facebook news feed there was a picture of Pope Francis with a dog and the quote, "One day we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God's creatures." It caught my attention. When I was a seminarian there was much discussion around this topic and various opinions. A visiting Bishop, not about to be cornered, responded to our question with a question, "How many angels can dance on the point of the needle?" We were left with no clear answer. I have not given a lot of thought to the question through out the years and then this evening there is this lovely post and quote.
I have always considered that the one who created all creatures would also be the one who received them when death came. I enjoy the Blessing of the Animals service in October as people bring their beloved creatures to church for the celebration. More than any of that though is the intense joy and pleasure these animals bring to our lives. They sense our mood, our feelings and offer incredible support and comfort. I also remember being asked, many years ago to describe a time when I have felt close to or in the presence of God. I remember writing about the experience of having one dog lying on my feet under the desk as I typed and the other lying at the back of the chair. There was peace and complete harmony in the room. In that moment I knew that the presence of God was everywhere and it is frequently offered through the companionship that has been shared through the years.
So as memories of beloved creatures that have graced our lives for too short a time come to mind Pope Francis offers comfort to all animal lovers. The hope and grace of God is extended to all of creation and is not a human monopoly. The God who creates also receives all of the beloved creatures back to himself. So how many angels can dance on the point of the needle? Who knows, who cares? Pope Francis has reminded us of a loving God that is bigger than we can hope or imagine, that supersedes our expectations and loves all of creation especially the four legged variety that teach us much about unconditional love.
"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself"