Tuesday, May 31, 2011
"And what is this God?" I asked the earth and it answered: "I am not he," and all the things that are on the earth confessed the same answer. I asked the sea and the deeps and the creeping things with living souls, and they replied, "We are not your God. Look above us." I asked the blowing breezes, and the universal air with all its inhabitants answered: "I am not God." I asked the heaven, the sun, the moon, the stars, and "No," they said, "we are not the God for whom you are looking." And I said to all those things which stand about the gates of my senses: "Tell me something about my God, you who are not He. Tell me something about Him." And they cried out in a loud voice: "He made us."
(Saint Augustine, The Confessions, X:9)
I just started reading the book called"Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy." I like it so much thus far that I feel compelled to share a passage from Chapter One "The Things That Are:"
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creatures after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and it was so.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
(Excerpt from Chapter One of 'Dominion' by Matthew Scully)
I am not, I confess, a particularly pious or devout person. But animals have always awakened something in me - their little joys and travails alike - that, try as I might, I find impossible to express except in the language of devotion. Maybe it is the Lord's way of getting through to the particularly slow and obstinate, but if you care about animals you must figure out why you care. From a certain angle it defies all logic, often involving, as in the case of pets or the strays who find our doors, all sorts of inconveniences and extra worries one could do without. And the only good reason I know to care for them is that they are my fellow creatures, sharing with you and me the breath of life, each in their own way bearing His unmistakable mark.
I know that they do not have reason comparable to ours. I know that their lives and place and purpose in the world are different from ours. I know that theirs is an often violent world, "nature red in tooth and claw" as Tennyson described it. But I also know that whatever their place and purpose among us might be, it is a mysterious one beyond any man's power to know. Whatever measure of happiness their Creator intended for them, it is not something to be taken lightly by us, not to be withdrawn from them wantonly or capriciously...
After having read just a few pages, I'm already addicted to this book... I think many of my readers/followers would like it too.