Chapter 14. Fauna
Amazing is the diversity of living creatures from the microscopic protozoa to huge elephants and whales. There are two million to 15 million species of animals including between one and ten million species of insects. Children are fascinated by the stories of Noah's Ark, Jonah and the whale, Daniel in the lions' den. Children of all ages enjoy visiting zoos, aquariums, national parks, and wildlife refuges. St. Francis of Assisi preached to the birds, and St. Anthony of Padua preached to the fishes when others would not listen. May humankind help maintain the habitats where the fauna live, and remember our place sharing in their ecosystems and the biosphere at large. Because of our unique gift of the soul, humans should act wisely in taking care of the creatures entrusted to us.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep. We form His flock, His faithful people the Church. May we always recognize His voice and follow Him to good pastures and restful waters. Together this flock is gathered by His representative, His vicar on earth, our Holy Father, the Pope. May God bless the Pope and all Bishops as they shepherd and guide us now. May they keep us safe from evil. May they lead the whole flock on the right path so that we may find good pastures and restful waters for our souls.
1 Kings 4:33 (NIV)
He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish.
Genesis 7: 1–3 (NIV)
The Lord then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth..."
Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and worshiped the eternal LORD God.
Daniel 6: 27
"...He rescues people and sets them free by working great miracles. Daniel's God has rescued him from the power of the lions."
Either cedar, cypress, oak, or any tree from the forest may be chosen. Or even a pine tree planted by the woodcarver and watered by the rain.
Job 12:8 (NIV)
... or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.
... the birds in the sky,
the fish in the sea,
and all ocean creatures.
I know all the birds
in the mountains,
and every wild creature
is in my care.
You are more glorious than
the eternal mountains.
Birds build their nests nearby
and sing in the trees.
Song of Solomon 2:12
flowers cover the earth,
it's time to sing.
The cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
The LORD sent a big fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
John wore clothes made of camel's hair. He had a leather strap around his waist and ate grasshoppers and wild honey.
Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds?
Listen! I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves. You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves.
For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father's consent. As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows!
The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a net is thrown into a lake and catches all kinds of fish.
Matthew 14:17, 19
But they said, "We have only five small loaves of bread and two fish." ... and he told the crowd to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and handed it to his disciples, and they gave it to the people.
1 Corinthians 15:39
People, animals, birds, and fish are each made of flesh, but none of them are alike.
Acts 10:12 (NIV)
It contained all kinds of fourfooted animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.
Big fish eat small fish, and small fish eat shrimp eggs.
O nightingale, that on yon bloomy spray
Warbl'st at eve, when all the woods are still.
—John Milton. Sonnet, To the Nightingale [c. 1637].
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him, all creatures here below!
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
—Thomas Ken (1637–1711). Doxology. .
A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.
—Henry David Thoreau. Letter, 22 November 1858, to Daniel Ricketson in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 341, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
God's creativity and sense of humor are apparent in the existence and diversity of animals like the duckbill platypus, hummingbirds, kiwis and ostriches, seahorses, whales and dolphins. The fossil record allows us to peer into prehistory to witness the fascinating creatures that previously inhabited the earth—dinosaurs, pterosaurs, trilobites, saber-toothed tigers, and woolly mammoths. Museums remind us of more recently extinct animals like the dodo, moa, and passenger pigeon. Zoos remind us of the species threatened because of habitat loss. May we be careful not to cause another species extinction out of greed and senselessness.
Photo Credit: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
(C) 2002 by Anthony R. Brach.