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Creation, Too, “Longs” for the Healing That Christ Will Bring

December 3, 2018 4 Comments

In the first reading for Tuesday of the first week of Advent is expressed the implicit longing of all creation for healing. Isaiah tells us of the healing that will one day come to creation when prey lie down in peace with their predators:

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Hence, when Christ from His judgment seat shall finally say, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5), and when with John we see “a new heavens and a new earth” (Rev 21:1), I have little doubt that animals will share in that recreated and renewed kingdom where death shall be no more (Rev 21:4).

In this passage, St. Paul goes so far as to “personify” creation:

For indeed, creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:19-21).

Yes, creation itself eagerly awaits the day when God will say (in the words of an old spiritual), “Oh, Preacher, fold your Bible, for the last soul’s converted!” Then creation itself will be set free from its bondage to death and decay and will be gloriously remade into its original harmony and the life-possessing glory that was once paradise.

Maybe now, through the mystery of our interaction with our pets, God is giving us a glimpse of the harmony we will one day enjoy with all creation. Perhaps our pets are ambassadors for the rest of creation, a kind of early delegation sent by God to prepare the way and begin to forge the connections of the new and restored creation. Maybe they are urging us on in our task of making the number of the elect complete so that all creation can sooner receive its renewal and be restored to the glory and harmony it once had. Who knows? But I see a kind of urgency in the pets I have had over the years. They are filled with joy, enthusiasm, and the expectation of something great.

They show joyful expectation! Yes, there was a kind of joyful expectation in the dogs of my youth: running in circles around me, dashing to greet me when I arrived home, and jumping for joy when I announced a car ride or a walk. My cats have always sauntered over to meet me at the door with a meow, an arched back, and a rub up against my leg. Somehow our pets manifest the passage above: creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed (Romans 8:19).

While I realize that we humans often project what we want their behavior to mean, I am still fascinated by the way our pets come to “know” us and set up a kind of communication with us.

Dogs, especially, are very demonstrative, interactive, and able to make knowing responses. Cats are more subtle. My cat, Jewel, knows my patterns. She also knows how to communicate to me that she wants water, food, or just a back rub. She’s a big talker, too, meowing each time I enter the room. Sometimes I wish she could just tell me what she wanted!

Yes, this interaction with our pets is indeed mysterious. I am not suggesting that animals are on a par with humans intellectually or morally; Scripture is unambiguous that animals are given to us by God and that we are sovereign stewards over them. However, animals—especially our pets—are to be appreciated as gifts from Him. Scripture is also clear that animals will be part of the renewed creation that God will bring about when Christ comes again in glory.

They are part of the Kingdom! Without elevating pets (no matter how precious to us) to the full dignity of human beings, it is not wrong to think that they will be part of the Kingdom of God in all its restored harmony and beauty.

One day when Christ comes again, creation, now yearning, will receive the healing for which it longs.

The first song in this video, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” takes some of its lyrics from earlier verses in Isaiah Chapter 11, from which we read this day.

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Comments (4)

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  1. the little brother says:

    God gave us the animals that we would never be lonely. Of late we have been lifting up the cries & suffering of this Good Earth & God’s Creatures. Our Lady of Medjugorje once said ‘When all hearts are returned to Her Son the issue of the animals will take care of itself.”

  2. Frank says:

    I learned in my Catholic school education that our pets have only mortal souls, not immortal ones like humans have and thus will not be with us in eternity. Our pets will not rise from the dead as we will. Am I wrong?

    • Just A Sinner says:

      Hi Frank,

      Yes I too have read that somewhere online in a priests’ response to a similar question asked by someone.
      The way I understand it is, that animals including our pets have souls as this is what gives them life, what animates them, and yes, they are mortal as you’ve said.

      But I look at it this way – we have different pets all through our lives from our childhood best friend to the support and companionship of a cherished pet in adulthood. Each one has been loved for themselves, and the preceding pet has remained the cherished pet they were when alive. We’ve healed enough to get another pet after the loss of the previous one, which doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten the last pet and have “moved on”, but they are now part of our special fond memories and will remain so.

      I think it is possible that we may have a pet again but not the ones in this life, but perhaps a “new” pet. New in the sense it is another pet (in the line of pets), but also one that is part of the new creation, wherein our relationship with this pet will be as it was meant to be by God ie as in The Garden of Eden – and for all eternity.

      These are just my thoughts and opinion on the matter and it’s possible I may be wrong.

      God bless.

  3. Damian says:

    Close! But Isaiah and Paul, in these passages, are not talking about Heaven. They are talking about *this earth,* once the Restoration of All Things in Christ (spoken of by St. Pius X in the encyclical bearing that same name) takes place — *before* the end of time

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