Thursday, May 18, 2017

God loves us through the animals

St Augustine tells us about how God loves us today in A Year with the Church Fathers.

He talks about the mutual benefit of baby and mother when the mother nourishes the baby with her milk. Another example of this is when we pet animals.

Neuroscientists have studied the brains of humans and dogs or cats when people are petting the animals. They found that when a person strokes an animal's fur, it releases chemicals in the brain that make us happy. Here is an article that talks about it. Not only does petting the animals release these healing and calming chemicals in the human brain, but the same action releases similar chemicals in the animal's brain. So when we pet our pets, we are making them happy and ourselves happy at the same time.

Studies have shown that having a pet and interacting with them regularly help us live longer, healthier lives. And we can see, just like Augustine did with his mother, that God has given us these loving creatures in a mutually healthy, synergistic relationship to make both us and the animals happy.

He told us what we do for the least of these our brothers, we do for Him. But I think He wants us to show Him our love by taking care of the animals, too. After all, that was our original job, way back "in the beginning".  St Francis would approve.

God, thank You for loving us by giving us pets to make our lives better.