September 4, 2013–Every Knee Must Bend

~by Susi Pittman

Therefore, God has exalted him and has bestowed upon him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend ~Philippians 2:9-10~

The Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the River Jordan as recorded in the Gospel of Mark has always been for me that “one moment” of holy inspiration whereby God spoke to my heart about how important the animals were to His Son.

And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately on coming up from the water he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit, as a dove, descending and remaining upon him. And there came a voice from the heavens, “Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.” And immediately the Spirit drove him forth into the desert. And he was in the desert forty days and forty nights, being tempted the while by Satan, and was with the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. ~Mark 1:9-13~

Jesus was “in the midst of” the wild animals. Why? Why was it important for him to be with the animals? Why couldn’t he have just been alone with the angels? St. Mark is explicit in the fact that God makes known that Jesus is His Son, the promised Messiah…so why not just leave it at that…Jesus certainly needed no one but His Father and the Spirit, right?

Jesus came to redeem creation. Behold, I make all things new! ~Revelation 21:5~

When the first Adam caused creation to Fall by the distortion of sin, thus taken from the Father, Jesus, the second Adam would once again restore and return it to the Father. The animals were present to witness the Fall of man and thus creation through Adam, and they would once again be present when the second Adam, Jesus would rebuke sin and tell Satan to “Be gone,” preparing the way for the Redemption.

Animals were witnesses both times.

Can you imagine how desolate the desert can be? Can you not imagine also, how comforting the company of animals (totally subject to man) and angels (totally serving God) must have been to the Lord of Creation? Would it not have made one of the most pure and poignant moments in historical time to have seen how perfect life could be in living in the “presence” of God?!

In my personal contemplative meditations, it is a place I go to time and time again for refreshment!

Animals were witnesses and players in Jesus’ life throughout. The shepherds with their flocks and herding dogs watched the heavens fill with angels at the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born in a farm grotto, certainly filled with domestic livestock. A donkey carried Mary and the infant child Jesus into Egypt. The wild beasts were present to Jesus to keep him company at the Temptation. By His own words, a donkey was ready and present to Him to ride into Jerusalem preceding His Passion. How many, many more times was Jesus comforted and attended to by the “lesser brethren” throughout His life? We do know that He was at certain times and that lends credence to considering how He loved all of creation.

God created all animals and He cares for all flesh. Jesus came to reconcile all flesh.

Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. ~Mark 16:15~

I will close with a prayer from St. Basil of Caesarea, a Doctor of the Church:

And for these also, dear Lord, the humble beasts, who with us bear the burden and the heat of the day, and offer their guileless lives for the well-being of their country, we supplicate Thy great tenderness of heart, for Thou hast promised to save both man and beast. And great is Thy loving kindness, O master, Savior of the world. ~Third Century Prayer~

It is NOT unscriptural to say that Jesus came to save both human and animal.

Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!  Alleluia. ~Psalm 150:6~

Everything!

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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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