I Will See You in Heaven


My favorite Christmas gift this week was a book. I want to tell you
about it but first a little background.

I am an animal lover; cats, dogs, cows, whatever. I also believe that
animals have souls. I sometimes feel few share in my opinion and that
some people see animals as nothing more than property or simply a
stuffed animal that happens to move.

I got a bb gun as a young man. I really enjoyed it but I misused the
responsibility one summer day. I had seen a Robin around our yard and
decided to shoot it. The second I pulled the trigger I knew it was a
mistake. I saw the Robin collapse and immediately walked over hoping
it was alive. It was dead. I wanted to take it back so much that I
carried it around with me then finally buried in the woods. I still
carry the guilt from that day buried in my mind.

Lisa gave me the book “I will me you in Heaven” for Christmas. It was
written by Friar Jack Wintz, (www.friarjack.org) of the Franciscan
Order in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Franciscan’s were an order founded by
Saint Francis of Assisi in the early 1200’s. Saint Francis saw the
beauty in things but also saw their life-giving reason and cause. In
his time, he ordered his Friars to set the best honey and wine out
for the bees, to help them during the cold season. Saint Francis
liked animals.

Friar Wintz has written a book that is easily read and has real
economy in its use of words. “I will see you in Heaven” could easily
be read in an hour if it weren’t for the intense context which you
must use to understand the use of scripture to support the existence
of souls and salvation for animals. It is well worth the effort
because of the truth it reveals. What people have mistakenly done is
create a hierarchy of God’s love and try to use this hierarchy as
some sort of meter to gauge to whom God reveals his gifts. In the
Bible it says God loves all things. It does not say God loves
some more than others, although is does say He loves some people
specifically. Friar Wintz says it this way, “we have much to
learn about God’s inclusive love, and about our role in collaborating
respectfully with other creatures as we go on our way to fulfill our
Creator’s holy designs.”

I say a few words for all the animals on our farm each night and
individually before I bring them to the locker plant. I feel it is
something I do for them, however it is also something that makes me feel better. I was
thinking about that Robin I shot when I was eight and realized
something; I could make it better. I could pray about that Robin the
same as I do for the cattle and at the same time receive some peace from
that awful act. It worked, it really worked.

“I will meet you in Heaven” includes three very useful prayers to be
used in the course of interaction between animal and man. A portion
of the proceeds from the book go to a no-kill shelter in Cincinnati,
Ohio and it is a darn fine read. I told Lisa that this is all I would
have needed for Christmas, it is that good and I recommend it.


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