Being an animal in the wild teaches us much about spiritual warfare.
Think about it: a creature out there in the elements is on its constant guard. An enemy could be behind any bush, hiding behind any tree, lurking around any corner, in the dark, in shadows.
Ring a bell?
Stop a moment and think of how tough it is to be an animal, any animal.
Take the deer. Like so many animals, it prefers moving by night, when it is less a target for myriad enemies. A deer has to navigate through a world of speeding cars, hunters, coyotes, wolves, bears, mountain lion, and if they are small enough, even bobcats.
The raccoon is wily — but also knows the benefits of the nocturnal hours.
Also, they contend with each other.
Small birds are at tremendous risk — from wandering cats, swooping hawks, bobcats, coyotes, and snakes.
You may not like rats, but everything seems to go after them!
Butterflies? A bird will swallow one while in flight, if the butterfly made it past the grate of a car (remember how many butteflies there used to be)? Everything is also susceptible to our chemicals. Witness the dearth of bees.
Below is a bobcat — even while photographed by a camouflaged camera, discretely out of clear view — and if you look closely enough at the second photo, standing on its hind legs looking around for danger.
This possum may seem happy (some bones were put out there for it; happier than the one above!), but a possum can itself a sumptuous meal for coyotes, bobcats, alligators, and panthers (in Florida). It is also the most frequent victim to cars.
Automobiles in almost all cases are an animal’s worst nightmare.
Somehow, it doesn’t seem like God made them to be smashed by SUVs and Silverados.
Always on the lookout. Always looking around. Constantly ill at ease. At no time can a wild animal let its guard up, and the same is true of humans on this earth when it comes to enemies and armies of the night by way of spirits.
It is only with extra vision that we see what lurks and so perhaps we can compare the night vision of an animal to the Holy Spirit lifting our spiritual blinders.
A trial — for humans and animals alike — is this place called earth.
Even coyotes have to watch at all times, relying on the instincts the Lord gave them.
[Feedback: “The church was closed due to local COVID 19 restrictions but the parish priests set up a ‘drive-in’ adoration alter behind the main glass doors of the church. It was empty in the outdoor gathering space of the church– people visiting, including my husband and I, stayed in their cars. The church is located on a wooded lot. A squirrel suddenly ran out of the woods and up to the door of the church, sniffing around. It
stood up on its hind feet and put its paws on the glass, as if to be reaching toward Our Lord. Some people walked over to the adoration area to pray and a family later parked, got out of their car, and walked toward the Blessed Sacrament. The squirrel did not bolt but just hopped back into the woods as if to make room for the people who had come for adoration. On the Feast of Corpus Christi, we were in our car for the drive-in Communion Service at the same parish. This Communion was special— Corpus Christi was the first time public Sunday Masses were offered in the Archdiocese since March. I noticed the tree nearest the Blessed Sacrament was shaking at the top and out popped the squirrel—it came down the tree, crossed the driveway, and landed in the grass near our car, sniffing around. It moved away and I did not see it anymore. As people started to line up with distancing and were waiting for the priest to come out, I saw the squirrel near the line of people. All of a sudden, the priest opened the front door of the church and came out with the ciborium of Hosts. I was aghast when I saw the squirrel hopping toward the Holy Communion area! It suddenly darted into the woods when the priest lifted the Host up. This squirrel was extremely bold, running headlong into a place that was filled with people! The following week more restrictions were lifted and people were allowed to stand in the adoration area in front of the church, thus participating (via the PA system) in the Mass going on inside. I looked around for the squirrel but noticed something else—there was a Siamese cat wondering around the grounds! The squirrel was up in a tree scolding the cat—I heard it chattering in the way that they typically do when something irritates them. The cat just wandered around the area. A woman sitting on the bench glanced toward the cat, but instead of coming toward her it darted away from her, making me think that it might be feral. After I received Communion and was driving out of the parking lot, I noticed that the cat was nowhere to be found. I have been to daily Mass since then and have not seen the squirrel or cat. This story shows how all of creation honors God. Animals are attracted to Him and seem to sense His
Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. It seemed like the squirrel was trying on numerous occasions to be close to Our Lord. In His Presence it was not afraid of people. The squirrel could tolerate Our Lord’s presence in the Monstrance but during Mass the holiness of the situation must have been too much for it to handle. In His mercy, it is possible that Our Lord sent an angel in the form of a cat to keep the squirrel
safely in the tree so that it would not be overwhelmed and possibly suffer illness during the Mass and while people were receiving Holy Communion. In the Old Testament no living creature was able to touch God’s holy mountain and live. This story shows the dignity of humanity —human beings are the only creatures that are privileged
enough to receive Jesus into themselves— not even the Angels have this privilege and certainly animals do not have this privilege! We are loved by God so much that He allows us to come into His Presence without harm. He chose to join creation by becoming human—he did not choose to become an angel, animal, or any other creature. By watching this squirrel, I have come to really appreciate and better understand God’s love and care for us, along with His incredible holiness.
–Barbara Zwiesler Gaithersburg, Maryland (suburb of Washington DC)]