It is always hard to say good-bye. As Catholics, we know that our human loved ones are called by Christ to join Him in eternity, dwelling in heavenly bliss before God, enlightened by the light of glory, sharing in the fullness of the eternal life Christ has prepared for us.
But what about our pets, and the animals that fill the earth and our lives with such special beauty?
Does God have a place for them? Where do animals go when they die? Are they just dust? What is the destiny of creation? Does God really care about any of creation besides man? Would God, the Author of all life, cast the non-human creation He called good into nothingness? Isn't it illogical to believe that God would find worthless that which is "hard-wired" to give Him praise? Is it so hard to understand that animals created by God with a particular good would not also have knowledge of their Creator?
It is a universal concern for stewards of creation who, in their humanness, consider such questions in their hearts. I write this book as a way to explore tenets of the Catholic faith that address creation; of bringng insight and spiritual truths to animal lovers and lovers of creation; and as evidential support of the truth that all creation was given its order, time, place, and purpose from its Creator, who sustains and preserves it at all times, always!
Both animate and inanimate creation share in a communion of praises to God by their very presence, in their beauty, in their sounds, and as a reflection of God’s love. All of creation is subject to change, made by the One who was, is and will be “changeless” forever. Jesus, the Beautiful One, Lord of Creation, has brought into this world nothing that He loathes. All was created for good through which the infinite goodness can radiate. Man, especially, has been called upon to find God in all creatures—much as Saint Francis of Assisi did—and to walk this world with them as brethren. As much as we may wish to know everything possible, God intends some things to remain great mysteries that lead us to an internal call to faith. We lose so much when we feel we have to “dog-ear” the mysteries of life—dissecting, researching, and analyzing to death those things that are unseen gifts of divine providence. Think about this for a moment: until humanity’s free will is perfected, why would God entrust us with something so important as understanding a great mystery while the possibility of humanity’s abuse of such a mystery still exists? Human common sense dictates that mysteries must exist, perhaps sometimes to save us from ourselves. A mystery demands faith to believe that some things God keeps, in His goodness, from us. Our faith journey leads to the love and mercy that is God, who has reconciled man and creation with Himself through His Son, Jesus the Christ. Because of Jesus, all creation lives in providential hope for its ultimate destiny with its Creator.
Susi Pittman is a Roman Catholic layman who has been rescuing abandoned or injured domestic and wild animals for over 35 years. She is founder of Catholic Stewards of Creation .COM, an educational, informational and inspirational website encouraging rightly ordered stewardship of creation. She is an avid conservationist and animal advocate. Susi is a an advocate for the Florida Catholic Conference; an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine; a member of the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon Society. She has been active in various ministries of the Diocese of Saint Augustine for twenty-six years, and works diligently to promote ecological and environmental stewardship through seminars and social media.