Do animals pray?


#1

I know this is a really silly question but I am just wondering about this. Do animals pray? I wonder this because often I will see my cat staring at the crucifix on my bedroom wall and I wonder if she is praying. I hope I don’t sound stupid with this question. But anyway, in the Bible it does seem to say that both inanimate objects and animals can cry out or pray:

And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
(Luke 19:39-40 RSV-CE)

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, “To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(Revelation 5:13-14 RSV-CE)

Again, I know this is a really stupid question but sometimes I have stupid questions in my mind that I’d like to see answered and so I thought I’d ask here. The above verses were the only verses I could find that seemed somewhat relevant.


#2

Some believe animals can see spirits & angels.


#3

No Holly.

Animals do not have spiritual souls. They have material souls. Therefore they lack the two principles of a spritual soul-- intellect and will.

The Scriptures you cite are metaphorical, not literal.


#4

Yeah I have heard of that before. I am not sure how true it is though.

Oh okay thanks for answering my question 1ke. I know that animals have material souls but I didn’t realize that they were not spiritual in any way.

I also thought that the passages of Scripture might possibly be metaphorical, especially the one about the rocks crying out but I wasn’t 100% sure. Thanks again!


#5

What an irrelevant, inappropriate question for this forum!


#6

Why irrelevant and inappropriate? I would think ANY question about God and spirituality is an appropriate enough question.

The OP already acknowledged it as a strange question…no need to rub it in.


#7

I think that falls in the realm of speculative thology. Who really knows?


#8

Even when animals do not have a immortal souls, they still could worship God. But it is likely that this worship is totally different from how we humans do. In the Bible are some stories that animals and plants reacted to God.


#9

In some way, it would seem from the Bible that plants, animals, weather, and inanimate objects can “praise the Lord” and “bless the Lord.” This is probably in the same way that the Sea of Galilee and the wind and rain can know to obey Jesus’ word; because He is their Creator, and obedience, praise, and blessing for God were built into them by Him. They praise and bless Him just by existing as they were meant to. He made Creation “very good,” and happy to be so; it is only we humans and the evil angels who disobeyed him.

(We also hear from the Book of Baruch that cats, birds, bats, etc. have no respect for false idols and will walk all over them and make messes on them. But this is presented as more of a natural lack of having awe for fake stuff, as opposed to being actual false-idol detectors. I have been known to joke that it means that, but it’s just a joke.)

There are certainly many instances of pets or animals associated with great saints or miraculous events seeming to exhibit reverence, although this may just be from obedience or imitation of what the humans around them are doing. Many animals that know us watch us carefully. We are almost like angels to them, because we have charge of them.

On the natural plane of things, we know that cats like to look at things from high or hidden places, and that a cat looking down on another cat may be considered to have achieved a better position. The crucifix on the wall is overlooking the cat, so the cat may be keeping an eye on Jesus’ sculpture to make sure that He doesn’t make any moves. OTOH, the cat may have observed that you give the crucifix special marks of respect, and may be keeping an eye on it for that reason. If the crucifix is metallic or highly polished material, the cat may be observing glints off the crucifix onto the wall, because we all know that cats are fascinated by moving lights.

Whatever is causing it, you clearly have an especially observant cat!


#10

St. Thomas Aquinas didn’t believe that animals would go to heaven but he did teach that an animal could HOPE–like a cat could HOPE that it would catch a mouse.

I believe that animals LOVE their young.

I can’t prove it but I’ve always thought that the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem was at peace in Jesus’ presence.

I have seen my cat staring into space like it was seeing something that wasn’t there.

I don’t know what that means.

Does anyone know if the PRAYING MANTIS prays?

Does anyone know why the Holy Spirit inspired the author of Tobit to include the verse about the dog fawning and wagging his tail?

God made Balaam’s donkey TALK to him.

God seems to really like animals in Job!

I’ve heard that animals don’t have souls but they do have finite spirits.


#11

I think the most telling passage of scripture that speaks to this is in Ecclesiastes 3 where it says; “[FONT=Palatino Linotype][21] Who knoweth if the spirit of the children of Adam ascend upward, and if the spirit of the beasts descend downward?”

Personally I suspect that animals know and respect their creator and even recognize His mandate to be subject to mankind, which of course makes it a sin to abuse them. :shrug:

Do they pray? Who can know? I believe that innately they have a different kind of relationship with God than we do, but that is simply my own pious theory.[/FONT]


#12

I recall hearing a story of a Eucharistic procession where animals were observed bowing before the Blessed Sacrament. Though not a prayer of contrition, thanksgiving or supplication, it suggests animals are capable of offering a non-verbal prayer of adoration.


#13

a christian would say no. id beg to differ but that would be the christian position.


#14

Respectful Query; Yes; animals have a spirit soul unlike humans in that their existence glorifies God’s Creation. Yet animals do not have the cognitive intellectual ability to declare like humans to say I know that I know. They are not self aware to fathom that they exist except through survival intincts. How would they therefore be self-aware of God’s Existence until perhaps when their life expires and the glory of their existence returns to God?


#15

How do you know that your own hypothesis is true?

Why would any creation have to be noticeably (to us humans anyway) self aware in order to carry out the many places in Sacred Scripture that says things like “6] Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 150) as well as "13] And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, [FONT=Palatino Linotype]“To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!” [FONT=Georgia] (Revelation 5)[/FONT][/FONT] :shrug:


#16

Balaam’s donkey for one, :D:D


#17

It is you who is labeling what I said as an hypothesis. And there is no need of me to remind you that Jesus (God) came to redeem humanity not animals. If animals have intellect that surpasses human intellect, and places them at a higher regard than human souls I’m surely unaware of it.
vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a7.htm

Respect for the integrity of creation

2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity.195 Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.196

2416 Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory.197 Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.

2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image.198 Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.


#18

There’s ideaommon to Christianity, Judaism, and Islams that animals, along with vegetables and minerals, exist instrumentally in relation to human beings; they are made for human beings, even belong to human beings, as resources in creation. This idea predates Christianity and is found notably in Aristotle (#38422 B.C.E.), who argues that “since nature makes nothing to no purpose, it must be that nature has made them [animals and plants] for the sake of man” (The Politics, 1, viii). This idea, largely unsupported by scripture, was nevertheless taken over by Aquinas, who conceived of creation as a rational hierarchy in which the intellectually inferior existed for the sake of the intellectually superior. Hence Aquinas posits that “It is not wrong for man to make use of them [animals] either by killing or in any other way whatever” (Summa contra Gentiles, Third Book, Part II, cvii).

Such instrumentalism, which features rationality as the key factor dividing human beings from “brute beasts,” has in turn buttressed the third influence, namely the notion of human superiority in creation. Human superiority need not, by itself, have led to the neglect of animal life, but when combined with the biblical ideas of being made “in the image of God” (Gen. 1: 267) and God’s preferential choice to become incarnate in human form, some sense of moral as well as theological ascendancy was indicated. As a result, Christianity, and to a lesser extent Judaism, have been characterized historically by an overwhelming concern for humanity in creation rather than an egalitarian concern for all forms of God-given life. That humans are more important than animals, and that they self-evidently merit moral solicitude in a way that animals cannot, has become religious doctrine. Thus the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) maintains that “it is . . . unworthy to spend money on them [animals] that should as a
priority go to the relief of human misery” (CCC para. 2418).


#19

I believe that mainly animals were created for man but on the other hand–why does God speak so highly of them in Job?

God is waxing poetic in Job over certain animals.

It sure appears to me that god loves animals.

I’m not saying that He doesn’t love man more or that man is in fact superior to the animals–all I’m saying is that God loves animals.

I never have been able to understand how some people think that the meaning of everything is ONLY God and man.

God made the angels before man–I’m sure He loved angels before man.

Do we know EVERYTHING that was made in heaven BEFORE man?–we know the angels were made but have we been granted the revelation by God of everything He created before man?

The Holy Spirit INSPIRED Ecclesiates 3:21 to be written for a reason.

Show me where the Holy Spirit has invalidated Ecclesiates 3:21.

While I think it is wrong to speculate about animal attributes because of sentiment and attachment to creatures–I think on the other hand it is also wrong to presuppose that we know the full extent of God’s dealing with all parts of creation other than man.

We know what God has revealed to us about those dealings–that doesn’t mean that we know EVERYTHING concerning those dealings.


#20

That’s my whole point. You infer much from what the Church has said without regard for that which she has not said, which leaves us in the position to consider what the Scriptures say as allowing for my position as well.

Consider: If not even a sparrow falls that God is not mindful of then it seems He holds them in somewhat greater esteem than we foolish humans do, and it is a mark of our fallen nature that we esteem them so lightly that their mistreatment and suffering is so often ignored.

The fact is that the Church has not definitively told us whether animals have the capacity for prayer and worship in their own way and so your quotes do not actually help one way or the other and in fact, the Church has left us with some freedom as to our individual piety in this regard.

I don’t see where anyone in this thread thus far has even remotely inferred (as you put it) that “animals have intellect that surpasses human intellect, and places them at a higher regard than human souls”, so that means nothing. So far as I can see from both Church teaching and Sacred Scripture we see that animals do indeed respond to God though we humans may not have much capacity to perceive it.

That’s probably where this discussion best left.:shrug:


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