Thursday, July 17, 2008

Friends of Adam

I started this blog with the intention of giving people hope. I intended to give all sorts of practical tips on things we could do in our everyday lives to help manifest a more compassionate world. Recently, however, it seems as though I've allowed to get myself bogged down in my sadness about animal suffering. I guess there's just an ebb and flow. But even when I'm struggling more with the grief and despair, I have still not given up hope.

I have recently revisited a wonderful book, "Animals and Man: A State of Blessedness," by Joanne Stefanatos, an Orthodox Christian and holistic veterinarian. The description of the books notes that it is, "A book that reveals the mysteries of God concerning man, animals and salvation." It is a wonderful book that speaks of God's original intent for His creation... that all would live in harmony, and that Man would lead creation in love. In the book, there are countless stories of Orthodox men and women living in peaceful coexistence with animals throughout the ages. A few weeks ago, I also purchased a copy of her second book, "Animals Sanctified: A Spiritual Journey." As noted in the description of the book, "This book is a revelation of Orthodox spirituality from the days of Jesus to the present, addressing the question, "How can we save ourselves and God's creation: the animals and the earth?"

I cannot tell you how much I treasure both of these books! To finally find something written by someone of my faith who addresses these issues is like a dream come true for me. I have often felt alone in circles of people who have compassion for animals, because they most often do not share a Christian faith. Then, in my own parish, I often feel alone because of my compassion for animals.... I think I may have been the only person in my parish who celebrated Pascha with an all-vegan feast. But to hear of another voice in the wilderness who so eloquently speaks of the sacred beauty of animals, and our God-given duty to be loving stewards to them, is music to my ears. I wish that all could read her words... perhaps more hearts would be softened toward the animals... the first friends of Adam.

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