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March 18, 2009 > Ohlone Humane Society: The Blessing of the Animals...expanding the Circle of Compassion

Ohlone Humane Society: The Blessing of the Animals...expanding the Circle of Compassion

By Nancy Lyon

There has always been a gap in our humanity in the way we look upon non-human animals and how we view and treat these other sentient beings. In regard to this, over the centuries insightful philosophers and theologians have reached out to assist in overcoming our self-imposed limitations and blindness. When we listen not only with our minds but our hearts, it helps us to more easily accept how far we fall short in our treatment of our fellow earthlings... those beings who may not be human but who share our ability to feel love, experience fear and pain, and who have thought and self-awareness.

Many contend that an attitude reflecting compassion for all life is also the most crucial indicator of an individual's level of spiritual development. The revered Mahatma Ghandi took it even further and touched on this when he said "That the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated," and that included not just our companion animals but all animals.

We search for peace and harmony among our diverse peoples and nations yet we overlook and often do not even consider our treatment of those creatures that are the most vulnerable - our non-human brethren. It has been said by wise and evolved people that if mankind could generally show compassion and a helping hand for other less powerful species ... because it finds it in their hearts to do so, not out of need but because it desires to do so, it will also be able to show these qualities more uniformly to all humans.

Philosopher Dr. Albert Einstein commented "A human being ... experiences himself., his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness... Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."

In this spirit of respect and caring, on Saturday, April 4th Fremont's Center For Spiritual Living will hold its second annual Blessing of the Animals. The public is invited to join in and have one of their Ministers bless your best friend. Even if your beloved animal has passed or is stressed by travel you may bring a photo (or ashes) instead. They welcome all species of companion animals. There will be a special "appearance" of St. Francis of Assisi the patron saint of animals.

There is no cost and any donations will benefit the Ohlone Humane Society and help us to continue in our mission to inspire respect and compassion for all animals, advocate for their interests and welfare, and instill in our community that all living beings have a right to be treated humanely.

Please join us with your furred, feathered or finned friend in this wonderful celebration:

The Center For Spiritual Living
Blessing of the Animals
Saturday April 4, 2009
1 p.m. to 4 pm
40155 Blacow Road, Fremont
(Corner of Blacow & Stevenson)
(510) 656-9955

"God . . . give us the grace to see all animals as gifts from You and to treat them with respect, for they are Your creation . . . "
St. Francis

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