A Prayer for Animals
Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals,
especially for animals who are suffering;
for animals that are overworked, underfed and cruelly treated;
for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars;
for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry;
for all that must be put death.
We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity,
and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion
and gentle hands and kindly words.
Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals,
and so to share the blessings of the merciful.
Attributed to Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer's quest was to discover a universal ethical philosophy, anchored in a universal reality and make it available to all of humanity. "A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help." I would add all of the kingdoms in the natural world are sacred and should be treated as such. Schweitzer was ahead of his time in this remark. I think he was seeing into the future or sensing the lessons ahead.
In every century there is a collective lesson to be learned. In the 20th century, I believe that lesson was about power. In the 21st century, I believe the lesson will be about ethics. The lessons of power naturally transitioned into the lessons of ethics.
His definition of ethics is summarized in this statement. "It is good to maintain and further life; it is bad to damage and destroy life. And this ethic, profound, universal, has the significance of a religion. It is religion."
In a flash of mystic illumination in September, 1915, as he was steaming up the Ogooue River in Africa, Schweitzer was on deck, thinking and writing. "At the very moment when at sunset we were making our way through a herd of hippopotamuses, there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought the phrase Reverence for Life."
Reverence means to regard or treat with deep respect. It is ethical and it is an alive quality of the new earth human, who intrinsically lives from the consciousness of reverence, rather than from the destructive force of survival consciousness. We have taken Darwin's theory of natural selection, which he intended to mean "better adapted for the immediate, local environment" and morphed it into "survival of the fittest."
"Survival of the fittest" places us in competition for resources, creates winners and losers, and is directly contributing to the decline of our culture. Our choice is to continue on this path until life no longer can be sustained or we can choose to catch a whiff of the uplifting quality that comes from choosing reverence for life. If we turn our heads around now and wake up to the truth of how we treat each other and how we treat the natural world, we may still have a chance to create something great. If we are unwilling to bend, we will face the outcome of that choice.
We all must start today to transform our biases, prejudices, judgments, insecurities and the myriad of our separating, destructive thoughts. It is not easy to take personal responsibility to do so. It is very easy to say that everyone else needs to clean up their act. The act you need to clean up is your own. No more excuses. Fire up your reverence for life. Include reverence for your own life too.
In the meantime, pray for the animals.
Play with matrices #10, #17, #22, #40.