This was a homily I gave on the second Sunday in May 2010. It speaks about our little beagle, Katie, and what a gift from God she was for Wanda and me. Katie crossed the Rainbow Bridge yesterday and is now back home with our loving God. In gratitude to God for the gift that Katie was to our lives, I am sharing these thoughts once again.
The first thing I do when I open my eyes each morning is to thank God for bringing me to another day. The second thing I do is to tell my wife, Wanda, how much I love her. And the third thing I do is to take my little beagle, Katie, out on the front lawn for her early morning walk.
Katie is three years old and only 13 pounds. She was a gift from God to us – a loving, gentle spirit. Katie is helping me to move away from my obsessive/compulsive, Type A, workaholic habits, and to be more present to God and to his gifts of creation.
As I circle around the front lawn with Katie, I can hear the birds singing and the owls hooting. I can hear the woodpeckers busily at work. And for those few moments I feel that I am in God’s presence; and I am overwhelmed with a sense of thankfulness and praise for his creation. While the rest of my day may be tangled in email and meetings; while I spend all too many hours seeing life through the possessive eyes of my ego; those five minutes on the front lawn with Katie open my heart and my soul to God.
And I am filled with a sense of wonder for all God’s creation: for Katie herself, for the birds, for the trees, for oceans and sunsets and flowers, for the gift of life, and for the unconditional love and forgiveness that can exist between and among human beings.
Life is a gift, but it isn’t easy. There is joy, but also times of pain and suffering. We all cope with stress, loss, uncertainty, and anxiety. But God is always walking beside us, holding our hand, telling us that in the end all shall be well – it will all be okay. He sends us this message in the simple gifts of his creation: in the birds, in the owls; in the love we share with others; and even in the loving eyes of a little beagle.
Thank you, Katie, for coming to spend your earthly life with Wanda and me, and with our family. Thank you for helping to open my eyes to God’s presence all around me.
With love, Deacon Lex
Lex Ferrauiola is a husband, father, grandfather and a Catholic deacon serving as a pastoral minister and hospital chaplain within the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. His newest book, All Shall Be Well: Finding God Among the Pots and the Pans is available now.