Catholic Spirituality – Prayers

Saint-Francis-preaching-to-the-animals-Hans-StubenrauchThese are prayers for animals from the Christian and Catholic tradition.

From Albert Schweitzer

Dear God, protect and bless all beings that breathe, keep all evil from them, and let them sleep in peace. Amen.

From a Catholic Prayer Book

Hear our humble prayer, O God,

for our friends, the animals,

especially for those who are suffering;

for animals that are overworked,

underfed, and cruelly treated;

for all the wistful creatures in captivity,

that beat their wings against bars;

for any that are hunted or lost or deserted,

or frightened or hungry;

for all that must be put to death.

We entreat for them all

Thy mercy and pity,

and for those who deal with them,

we ask a heart of compassion

and gentle hands and kindly words.

Make us, ourselves,

to be true friends to animals

and so to share

the blessings of the Merciful.

Prayer for the Blessing of Pets

[at Franciscan churches, a friar often welcomes each animal with a special prayer]

Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures!  Amen.

Prayer for the Blessing of Animals

[from the  Monks of New Skete Monastery, Eastern Orthodox in the USA]

Psalm 150 Alleluia! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him for his vast, unshaking strength. Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him for all his grandeur. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! (vs. 1,2,& 3) Let us pray to the Lord. O our master, Lord and God, in ancient times you blessed the flocks of the patriarch Jacob, and when you took flesh and entered this world as a small and vulnerable infant, you were sheltered in the manger with these very creatures of yours. O loving Saviour, after you taught us how to pray to your heavenly father, you used the birds of the air as a reminder of his all embracing providence, for everything that breathes is the work of your hands and acknowledges, each in its own way, the presence of your all holy and life-giving Spirit. As we gather together this day to ask you to bless these various animals, let us see in them the goodness and beauty with which you endow all your creatures. By the example of our venerable fathers Paul and Anthony of the desert, Francis of Assisi, Seraphim of Sarov and Sergius of Radonezh, teach us never to abuse them or to take them for granted, rather let them open our hearts to your divine love so that, together with every living being, we may all sing your praises, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; now and forever, and unto ages of ages. All: Amen.

From St Basil the Great

O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, for our brothers and sisters, the inarticulate beasts, to whom Thou gave the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of humanity with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to thee in song has become a groan of anguish and a cry of torment. May we realize that they live not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee, and that they too love the sweetness of life. Amen.

From St Isaac the Syrian (or, of Nineveh)

What is a charitable heart? It is a heart which is burning with charity for the whole of creation, for men, for the birds, for the beasts, for the demons—for all creatures. He who has such a heart cannot see or call to mind a creature without his eyes becoming filled with tears by reason of the immense compassion which seizes his heart; a heart which is softened and can no longer bear to see or learn from others of any suffering, even the smallest pain, being inflicted upon a creature. This is why such a man never ceases to pray also for the animals, for the enemies of Truth, and for those who do him evil, that they may be preserved and purified. He will pray even for the reptiles, moved by the infinite pity which reigns in the hearts of those who are becoming united to God. All: Lord, give me and all the world a heart such as this. Amen.

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