cyfeillion-friends has 3 main precepts – to be friends of God, friends of the poor and friends of creation. I have been working up to writing about the ‘friends of creation’ theme but it is such a huge area, with issues such as caring for the environment, stewarding resources, creation as God’s temple – dwelling and meeting place, the impact of the cross on creation just to start with. I approach with trepidation. However, I do feel I am standing amidst a forest of thoughts and ideas with an intuitive sense of what I know in my spirit, but haven’t found the words for yet, so the easiest place to start is to touch that which is nearest to me.
In my ongoing transition to a simpler life where I work less (I am, I believe, a recovering workaholic – no small statement there and a long back story, which I will expand upon at some time), I have re-arranged things so there is space for another living thing to share my space.
How could getting a dog make life simpler? Particularly as this one (Richa, pronounced Reeka) is incredibly nervous and lacking confidence in her new environment, doesn’t know how to play and has no interest in treats. She is very affectionate though and loves attention and we both love slobbing on the sofa.
In talking to friends who have acquired dogs recently the adjustment is similar to having a first baby – all of a sudden you are responsible for another living thing and its well being. Major adjustment to how I structure my day, what I give my time and energy to bringing a new discipline in terms of how long I can be out of the flat, more considered about what I commit to, and more regular exercise.
Richa brings with her a new connection with the goodness of God through the natural world. Much like people connect through beach walks, hiking in the mountains, looking at the stars. It’s an opportunity to raise my eyes from the day to day, to be present in the moment and simply enjoy!
Richard Rohr’s quotes Thomas Aquinas in one of his recent Meditations, on how nature reflects God’s goodness –
“Grace brings nature to a sense of its own sanctity, and it evokes this sacredness within the human heart. Aquinas also affirms that God’s image and likeness is visible within the other-than-human realm, which few Christians were ever taught:
God brought things into being in order that God’s goodness might be communicated to creatures, and be represented by them; and because God’s goodness could not be adequately represented by one creature alone, God produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting to one in the representation of the divine goodness might be supplied by another. For goodness, which in God is simple and uniform, in creatures is manifold and divided. 
This is the reason St. Francis could speak of animals as “brother” and “sister.” This manifold and diverse world is held together in a uni-verse, which means a reality turning around one thing. Our common name for that one thing is “God” but the word is not necessary to appreciate the reality. Aquinas explained this theologically; Francis knew it experientially.” March 6, 2018
Ricah also brings another dimension to expressing kindness to the powerless as it will take quite a while and a lot of nurture to help her overcome her fears and build her confidence. Slow and steady is a good rhythm and the opposite of most of my working life which has been at break neck speed and crammed. Grateful for His kindness towards me in Jesus through whom all things were created.
Well, that’s one tree hugged!
 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, 47, 1.