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Unread 03-30-2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pets, Man and God -- in honor of my Neko

This is a little piece I wrote a few months ago, in honor of the second anniversary of losing my little buddy Neko:

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Pets, Man and God

┬ęCopyright 2010 Edward Trumbo

History and the historical sciences tell us that man and certain
species of animals found common cause in our distant past. Wolves, the
ancestors of modern dogs, may have partnered with humans in exchange
for warmth, security and the novelty of a cooked meal. The near
relatives of our domestic cats came out of the deserts, following
their rodent prey to the granaries of Egypt where the people would
revere them as divine servants, nothing short of angels. Were these
random accidents, a serendipity of evolutionary forces, a blind
accounting of an inter-species cost/benefit analysis-or something
built into their natures and ours, a plan we can glimpse without fully
understanding? I don't know. God knows.

Around the world today, there are millions of people who share their
homes and their lives with the descendants of wolves and the desert
felines. In some cases, these creatures continue to serve us in
whatever practical capacities we believe drew us together ages ago.
More often than not, they are here to be recipients of our care for
their own sake, to be a familiar living being and a companion
according to their ability, and simply to be.

It is the act and the state of being that concerns me today, the
second anniversary of my Neko's death. According to divine revelation,
God said to the void "Be!", and there was space and time, galaxies and
atoms, water and sky, beasts and man. Logic requires that God did not
create to satisfy any need of His own, nor to fill any deficiency in
His own Being. Philosophers and scientists alike wonder, "Why is there
something rather than nothing? Why does the universe go to all the
bother of existing?" I don't know. God knows.

Scripture says the natural world is God's first revelation to us, that
we can know enough of Him through creation to discern His nature,
however imperfectly. The prophets drive home the point throughout,
describing God's love, power and wisdom by relating them to the nature
of animals, even as we are ordered not to limit Him to the images of
created things.

A particular story in Scripture tells us much about the bond that can
form between a person and a companion animal, and the kind of respect
due to that bond. When the prophet Nathan had to confront King David
with the sins of adultery and conspiracy to murder, he told David the
parable of a poor man whose fond companion in life was a pet ewe-lamb
"who was like a daughter to him." As Nathan told him then of the rich
man who stole the ewe to make a banquet of her, David-this
warrior-poet, sinner and King-did not think this was a simple matter
of property and misdemeanor. He was enraged, and declared the
perpetrator worthy of death "because he has done this, and had no
pity". Notice what is not said here, even as David convicts himself of
his own sins. No one claims David is also guilty of an excess of
sentimentality, or an anthropomorphic projection onto a mere beast the
kind of value reserved for man, much less God. King David himself, the
man after God's own heart, does not seize the opportunity to deliver a
homily on God's sufficiency for us or the unique privileges of man as
made in His image.

There is the scent of reductionism in those all-too-common arguments,
the kind that would appeal to one truth and obscure another. God's
overwhelming sufficiency for us is true, but it does not preclude our
praying with the communion of saints in the Church Triumphant. Our
Savior tells us the Father sees the fate of every sparrow, while
reminding us that we are worth many sparrows. Perhaps today the
faithful need reminding that, for the sparrows and the rest of God's
creatures, to be 'worth less' is not to be worthless.

I have little in common with King David except for sin, and the crying
need to take up a sword against rich and pitiless Death. Children know
that need, long before any reductionist hardness of heart and
thickness of head sets in. The loss of a beloved companion animal
makes little children of us all, if we are not yet dead in spirit.

Will all creation, even every particular creature, live again? I don't
know, but neither do the rest of us. God knows. It could be that
Neko's destiny, and the ultimate destiny of all the little Nekos of
creation, was fulfilled by what he has already done for me. In the
year and nine days that we two of God's creatures walked together,
Neko gave me the chance, and the challenge, to be the good shepherd
and risk the safe multitude for the sake of one lost. He expanded my
heart, even though it would mean breaking it in the end. Just by being
here, he made me a better man, and thus closer to the image of God. It
would be a bittersweet irony if the ancient Egyptians had been partly
right and I had been called to entertain a simple kind of angel, even
if a purely mortal and temporary one. If this is the case, then I will
trust God and say with my still broken heart, "Blessed be the name of
the Lord."

Yet there is still the matter of this "book" of creation itself, and
the evidence of a God who is not limited by our understanding of
sufficiency. With super-abundant love for all He would create, He said
"Be!" and the galaxies and atoms whirled, the beasts and men walked.

The people of King David sing a wonderful song at every Passover
Seder. The chorus of "Dayenu" translates roughly as "It would have
been enough for us", and each stanza praises God for everything He had
already done to care for them:

If He had brought us out of Egypt;
It would have been enough for us!...

If He had fed us manna;
It would have been enough for us!...

If He had brought us into the Land of Israel;
It would have been enough for us!...

As a Christian and a Catholic, I'm tempted to add many more verses,
but I will restrain myself until the book of creation is complete. It
may yet be that on That Day a certain little angel, no longer my pet,
will remember that we had known and loved each other, will be again
rubbing his cheek to mine, and the whole of creation that was subject
to futility will be redeemed. I have no cause to fear, and some cause
for hope. I still don't know. But God knows.

"Dayenu!"



for Neko, R.I.P. December 17, 2008
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Unread 03-30-2011   #2 (permalink)
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I know. I have five cats waiting for me at (commonly called) the Rainbow Bridge so far. I haven't the slightest doubt that I will be reunited with them when my time comes. Not the slightest. Squeaky, Sissy, Baby, Bibbs and Ootay, my Bridge Angels, are all watching over me and my current gang.

Ootay, my most recently departed, (May 6, 2009) is the only one who has communicated with me. I don't know why that is, but I accept it, and enjoy it.
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Unread 04-01-2011   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you, acerlt. I have my own reasons for believing animals will be part of a new heaven and new earth.
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Read "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" by Gary Kurz.
Biblical proof that animals go to heaven. IMHO
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Beautifull! It will be 5 years since my beloved Boo-Boo died. My very first cat who chose me and told me his name. An alley cat loaded with fleas.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kskat View Post
Read "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" by Gary Kurz.
Biblical proof that animals go to heaven. IMHO
I did read this many years ago, before sending it along to my parents after the death of our family dog. A fine book, and he makes a good case.

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Originally Posted by Gramaray View Post
Beautifull! It will be 5 years since my beloved Boo-Boo died. My very first cat who chose me and told me his name. An alley cat loaded with fleas.
Thank you, Gramaray.
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