St. Francis is a Saint for our time. You may note that Catholic leader Pope Francis chose his name as a sign that he felt we needed the gifts of St. Francis at this junction of history. St. Francis in his life, gave up the riches of his childhood and "married lady poverty." He gave up all he had to serve the poor. He understood a deep connection between all facets of the natural world and preached to animals when the humans wouldn't listen.
We remember that animals are often the voice of God to us. How many dog and pet owners say their pets express unconditional love to them. Can God's love for us be any less?
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young, at your altars,
O LORD of hosts,my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.
Leader: Blessed be God, Creator of Heaven and Earth.
All: All creation gives you thanks.
Leader: Let us pray. Source and Sustainer of life, we cherish the myriad works of your hands. Water, earth, and sky are yours, as are all their inhabitants, wild and tame. We thank you for creatures that serve, befriend, enrich, entertain, nourish and protect us. May we, who are made in your image, care for them well. And may your groaning, yet wondrous creation rally and thrive, revealing to all who come after us your wise, redemptive, transfiguring love; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field.
Heavenly Father, your Holy Spirit gives breath to all living beings; renew us by the same Spirit that we may learn to respect what you have given and care for what you have made, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God your Son Jesus Christ taught us to love even the least among us, give us the courage to care for all living creatures and the strength to defend even the weakest of all. Amen.
Holy Father your Son Jesus Christ is the reconciler of all things in heaven and on earth; send us your Spirit that we may be made one with all your creatures, and know that all things come from you, and belong to you, now and forever. Amen.
Living God, you sustain all of creation and feed each living thing by the complex ecosystem of this land; may we live well in this place as your sons and daughters, honoring all who make it their home. Amen.
(Name) we give great thanks to the creator for you and the gifts you bring. May you and your human companions be a blessing to each other and teach one another the ways of Love. Amen
O Lord, we offer thanks and praise For the circle of our days.
Praise for our radiant brother sun, Who makes the hours around us run.
For sister moon, and for the stars, Brilliant, and precious, always ours.
Praise for our brothers wind and air, Serene or cloudy, foul or fair.
For sister water, clear and chaste, Useful and humble, good to taste.
For fire, our brother, strong and bright, Whose joy illuminates the night.
Praise for our sister, mother earth, Who cares for each of us from birth.
For all her children, fierce or mild, For sister, brother, parent, child.
For creatures wild, and creatures tame, For hunter, hunted, both the same.
For brother sleep, and sister death, Who tend the borders of our breath.
For desert, orchard, rock, and tree, For forest, meadow, mountain, sea.
For fruit and flower, plant and bush, For morning robin, evening thrush.
For all your gifts, of every kind, We offer praise with quiet mind.
Be with us, Lord, and guide our ways Around the circle of our days. Amen.
Leader: Go in Peace, we are not alone.
All: Thanks be to God.