527: Is there an animal, perhaps a pet, in your own spiritual journey through life?

Guardians of Being Eckhart Tolle Patrick McDonnell

Tell us about your pet!
    That’s right—today’s invitation is pure and simple: Tell us about a pet who’s with you now—or one in the past—who lit up your life in some way.
    All this week, we’re focusing on spiritual “companions.” Monday, we published a classic story from Jewish folklore of a mysterious stranger who became a companion to an entire village. And, on Wednesday, we published news about a marvelous new picture book by Eckhart Tolle and “Mutts” cartoonist Patrick McDonnell. It’s called “Guardians of Being” and it’s a wise-and-creative expression of all the ways the love of animals point us toward spiritual insights.

SEND US AN EMAIL at readthespirit@gmail.com and tell us about your pet—your current pet or one in the past. Tell us especially how this pet in some way lit up your daily life. (Attach a photo if you have one.)

THEN, if you’re an animal lover, you’ll want to “Read More”:


     Here are some helpful links to get ready for tomorrow’s Conversation With Patrick McDonnell on “Guardians of Being”:
    FOLKTALE ABOUT A SURPRISING COMPANION: If you missed it on Monday, here’s a link to “Yom Kippur in Hebron and Hard Times.”
    LEARN ABOUT ST. FRANCIS’ DAY: Our weekly Spiritual Season column contains short, newsy stories about various holidays and anniversaries. Scroll down in this week’s column to read the story about St. Francis’ feast day—and you’ll find more interesting links there about his life.
    LEARN ABOUT PATRICK McDONNELL: Millions around the world love “Mutts,” his gentle cartoons about cats, dog, birds, humans—and other animals as well. On Patrick’s own Web page, you can learn more about his life—and you can see him holding his own dog, a model for the pup in his comic strip!
    JOIN PATRICK AND FRANCIS’ FRIENDS: Patrick serves as a top adviser to the Humane Society of the United States and he encouraged the group to add spiritual resources to its nationwide programs. One of the Society’s most important spiritual programs is called “The Francis Files,” which allows “friends” of St. Francis—and friends of pets—to share their stories with the Society and the world. Check out the “Francis Files” page to see some of the great stories collected already.
    LEARN ABOUT BLESSING THE ANIMALS: Here’s a 2007 article on the Humane Society Web site about the worldwide custom of blessing animals around St. Francis’ Day. It’s still a helpful overview of the popular spiritual practice.

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    THINK IT’S JUST “A CATHOLIC THING”? No, it’s not! The Humane Society stressed this point by reporting on a United Methodist blessing of animals last year. Here’s the 2008 Maryland blessing story, which includes some quotes from the event and some very helpful links to other materials. One of those links is to the United Methodist Church’s in-depth resources on animal care. That’s just one example! Explore the world’s other great religious traditions and you’ll find deep concern for animals is an almost universal theme. In fact, some Asian religious traditions show so much concern for animal life that the most devout carry protective whisks or even masks to avoid disturbing even the smallest insect in the air.
    READ JOHN WESLEY’S FAMOUS “SERMON 60”: The Humane Society—and popular writers today—are reviving John Wesley’s visionary message about the need to care for all of creation. His famous Sermon 60 is a clarion call for rethinking our relationships with animals.

Now, don’t forget! Click on that Email link above to share your pet story with us!

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    (Originally published at http://www.ReadTheSpirit.com/)

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