My fowl, Charlie, died final month.
Charlie was a ravishing little parrot, jam-packed with character. Most days, my shoulder was her perch, from which she would plant kisses on my cheek. She liked having her image taken, and my buddy taught her to pose. When we’d chuckle, she would chuckle—and he or she had a knack for figuring out when the punchline of a joke was coming and would all the time chuckle at precisely the precise second.
She additionally liked to snuggle. She would fly over, sit with us, wrapped in a hoodie on the sofa, and watch films and Mass with us. When my son would apply violin, she could be the metronome completely chirping out the beat. If he stopped working towards after only some minutes, Charlie would squawk at him till he would begin working towards once more. My son used to joke that she was a music instructor in a earlier life. At night time, after we would prove the sunshine, she would say, “Good night. I love you.” She was vigorous and love.
In the times after her loss of life, I discovered myself stunned on the depth of my grief. The areas of our residence the place she had perched appeared to emit a palpable absence. I reminded myself that she was not an individual. That didn’t assist in any respect. The reality was, she was nonetheless a cherished member of our household for over a decade, and whereas she was solely six inches lengthy, she continuously made her presence recognized. I determined to simply sit with my grief in prayer.
As I prayed, St. Ignatius’s ideas on creation got here to thoughts. In the Contemplation to Attain the Love of God, he asks us to replicate on “how God dwells in creatures: in the elements giving them existence, in the plants giving them life, in the animals conferring upon them sensation, in man bestowing understanding” (Spiritual Exercises 235) and to think about “how God works and labors for me in all creatures upon the face of the earth, that is, He conducts Himself as one who labors. Thus, in the heavens, the elements, the plants, the fruits, the cattle, etc., He gives being, conserves them, confers life and sensation, etc.” (236) Ignatius additional advises that we’re to “consider all blessings and gifts as descending from above.” (237)
Charlie actually was a blessing from above, and he or she taught me about God. If God can pack a lot love into one pleasant little fowl and if, as Ignatius signifies, God has created and continues to create all of creation as reward for us, how immense is God’s love for us?
It’s price spending a while with that thought: God’s love animates all of creation, on a regular basis, and all of this wondrous creation is a present to us!
Have you ever had a pet that taught you about God’s love for you?