Or my cat? Or my name your pet and companion?
Is “Buster” in heaven?
At St. Margaret’s we are anticipating the Blessing of the Animals (Oct 1) as we remember St. Francis of Assisi (Oct 4th) and his love of all of creation—the sun was his brother and the moon his sister, he famously delivered a town from the ravages of “brother wolf.”
As a pastor I am frequently asked if the paradise of God is extended to animals—especially animals who have become “like family” to those asking the question. The question is usually blunt: “Is my dog in heaven?” The question is often followed by a description of the unconditional love expressed by the animal and experienced by the human questioner.
Much can be learned (and has) about God’s unconditional love when a strong bond occurs between a human and a beloved pet (animal). When this relationship is ended in the death of the animal much can be learned about our understanding of God and God’s unconditional love of us.
An animal lover, a fellow pilgrim on a spiritual journey, passed along this wisdom to me and I share it with you … especially you who may be grieving the loss of a pet and its love. Don’t press this too hard with your mind, let it rest gently in your heart. Is your dog in heaven? For the love of God (who is love), why not?
Someone told me animals don’t go to heaven.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because Jesus died for the sins of people, not animals,” he answered.
“Of course,” I responded.
And then I understood what this man could not and I said, “Animals never committed sin. Their connection with God was never broken. They never required redemption, which is why they’ve been able to redeem so many of us.”