Awake in the World

Awake in the World

Bless Your Pets: A Ritual of Gratitude

In the U.S. we have some 150 million pet dogs and cats and birds according to the census of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Birds, horses, rabbits and other animals contribute to the pet population. Pets and animals have become a focus for affection and kindness. Animals are used in pet therapies, as helpers to the blind, in drug enforcement and in seeking out earthquake victims. Once a year in Catholic countries it’s not uncommon to find a line of pets and farm animals at the cathedrals. They’re brought in by grateful owners on St. Francis of Assisi’s saint day for blessing from the local priest.


St. Francis is the patron saint of animals. He was known for his love of animals. Some six hundred years ago one of the friars recorded Francis’ sermon to a flock of birds. “My brothers, birds, you should praise your Creator very much and always love him,” he said. “He gave you feathers to clothe you, wings so that you can fly, and whatever else was necessary for you. God made you noble among his creatures, and he gave you a home in the purity of the air; though you neither sow nor reap, he nevertheless protects and governs you without any solicitude on your part.”

Thomas of Celano recorded that the birds stretched their necks and extended their wings as Francis walked among them touching and blessing them. Francis also spent time with a hare during one of his long periods of asceticism and fasting. He wanted the governor to declare that the Christmas holiday would be a day of moratorium on killing any animals and also that grains and food should be placed along the roadside for the birds.


The animal blessings thank their animals for their help and companionship. No need to be Catholic to create a pet blessing day. Create a ritual of your own making by writing out a prayer of gratitude, a poem or prose to recite. Light a candle and have some treats available. Be creative and consider ways to say “thank you” not only to the pets, but also to the wild animals. I love to leave out sunflower seeds for the red house finches, gold finches, cardinals and chikadees.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at

Previous Posts

Discovering You're Enough with a Leap of Perception
If you’re feeling hemmed in and know that there’s much more to you than what you’re currently experiencing but don’t know quite how to access it, then “Leap of Perception,” by Penney Peirce deserves a read. Penney wrote about working ...

posted 10:16:51am Sep. 18, 2013 | read full post »

How Joy Finds Us: Interview with Mark Nepo
The things we need arrive at the right time, and so it has been with Mark Nepo and his work. For those of us on a spiritual path, Mark’s writings possess the power to immediately move us into connection with a subtle and powerful awareness at ...

posted 9:42:16am Jul. 16, 2013 | read full post »

Hot Rituals to Celebrate the Summer Solstice
Can you feel the excitement in the air? The days are hot and sunny, and summer officially begins this week on June 21st. It’s the longest day and the shortest night in the Northern hemisphere. I love this day. In the South of France it’s ...

posted 7:27:32am Jun. 20, 2013 | read full post »

When Spirit Moves Us Out of Our Comfort Zone to Grow
Stepping onto the spiritual path isn’t all peace and roses. It pushes us into a place that moves us beyond our usual comfort zone. As we attune to the highest within us and listen to inner guidance, that guidance sometimes pushes us to try new ...

posted 8:04:01am Jun. 18, 2013 | read full post »

When Life Races By Replace Stress and Anxiety with Gentle Awareness
Even though I’m a seasoned traveler I still get stressed before trips. It’s not big jitters, just a general anxiety about: 1) Did I pack everything? 2) Will my travel connections go smoothly? And 3) What about the unexpected? Movement brings ...

posted 5:26:35am May. 28, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.