December 8, 2014: Heaven is for Animals?

~by Susi Pittman

It was a great joy to see this week’s headlines from Rome, Pope hints that animals go to heaven. I liked his “hint.” The Roman Catholic Church has been timeless in its teachings of creation stewardship and it is extremely nice to see the Holy Father included a “refresher course” in redemption as he states: It brings everything to its fullness of being, truth and beauty. And a few days later at his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father comforts a young boy whose dog had died by saying, One day we will see our animals again in eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all God’s creatures.

Pretty much, that’s my book, Animals In Heaven? Catholics Want To Know! I wrote my book 5 years ago under the entire premise of these two sentences uttered by our Holy Father. It was wonderful to read his words!!

Our Catholic saints had revelations of animals and the glorified natural being a part of heaven, as well as credible and highly examined documentation on the research of near death experiences coming from children as well as adults. Colton Burpon, Heaven Is For Real, confirmed the presence of animals about Jesus in his visit to heaven, during a near fatal appendectomy.

Biblical revelation and Church tradition informs us that we are only strangers in a strange land, nomads on a journey in search of a homeland. One that asks us to keep in mind that we are part of a greater family, one that is the non-human and elemental, established by God as written in Genesis.

Created in the image of God, humankind is called upon to act in peaceful, responsible stewardship, committed to the sound ecological and environmental virtues of hospitality and humility for this Earth, our home away from home.

So here are a few Biblical reminders from the Creator:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For in him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth. ~Colossians 1:15-16

God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world…and upholding all things by the word of his power…Hebrews 1:1-3

For the eager longing of creation awaits the revelation of the sons of God. For creation was made subject to vanity—not by its own will but by reason of him who made it subject—in hope, because creation itself also will be delivered from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God. For we know that all creation groans and travails in pain until now. Romans 8:19-22

And he who was sitting on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new!” And he said, “Write, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelations 21:5

The Bible footnote under this passage states: The quality of the earth will be changed but not the substance.

These scriptures and so many more could fill another book.

On a final note, there comes from the Old Testament, a testimony to the covenant God initiated with all of creation at the beginning of time and one that Jesus would affirm in the new covenant:

What now is has already been; what is to be, already is; and God restores what would otherwise be displaced. Ecclesiastes 3:15

The Bible footnote states: God restores; the meaning is probably that God allows no part of His creation to drop out of existence.

**Please know that all Bible scripture is from the Douay Rheims Edition, 1962.

** All emphasis by underline is mine

The “mystery” revealed in the Sacred Scriptures to all humankind is that God through Christ reconciles ALL things unto Himself. ALL THINGS.

If it were different, Jesus would have told us so. He would have said, only man…my favorite creature only…no animals allowed. He would have finished in Revelations with Behold, I make all men new! But he did not. Again and again, ALL THINGS resounds from the pages of scripture in the redemption picture, to no exclusions.

I don’t have any doubts what ALL THINGS mean. Let the intellectual’s rail with their ha-rumphs!

Animals In Heaven? I’m counting the days until Jesus takes me by the hand and shines the beauty of the glorified natural upon my face, and I share with Him in the grand reunion of ALL of both my human and non-human earthly family.

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Susi Pittman is founder of CatholicStewardsofCreation.com and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; an advocate for the Florida Catholic Conference; a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Council of Women in Jacksonville, Florida; an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine;a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.

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