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What can your pet teach you about God?

March 7, 2012
The following post was contributed by Fr. James Mallon, founder and director of the John Paul II Media Institute. Fr. James hosts the new series "Dogmatic Theology", which airs on S+L on Wednesdays at 8:00 pm ET / 5:00 pm PT. The program repeats Thursdays at 1:00 pm ET and Fridays at 9:00 am ET.
I’m a dog lover. I’ve been one for all of my life. Our first family dog, “Coco,” came into our lives when I was thirteen years old. We had Coco for fifteen years until she passed away during the first year of my priesthood. I remember meeting my father and brother at the veterinarian’s office the night Coco died. We wept and I prayed in thanksgiving for the gift she had been to our family. It was clear to me that there was a reflection of the faithfulness and love of God in this simple creature. For the first time in my adult life I was without a dog.
Then, two years later, when I was assigned my first parish, I knew I was ready for a dog of my own. So my journey with the often-mischievous “Monsi,” whose name is short for “Monsignor,” began.
It wasn’t long after that that the Lord started using this experience of pet ownership as a way to teach me significant lessons about Himself and the spiritual life. Shortly after that I started to ponder how others might also benefit from these insights beyond my homilies. This prompted me to consider penning a book titled "Dogmatic Theology: Spiritual Reflections on Dog Ownership", which would explore these lessons.
However, in the spring of 2009, as several staff members and volunteers of the John Paul II Media Institute gathered to consider what project we would produce next, my friend Dan O’Rourke proposed that the Institute use my idea as the basis for a DVD course. It took some convincing but I agreed! Therein began a two-year effort that has culminated in this eight-week DVD course called Dogmatic Theology.
Our production team has designed this course to appeal to all Christians and have thus included the voices of many, not only within the Catholic Church but also within the broader Christian community. Accordingly it is our sincere prayer that you recognize your own voice within it, as well as that of our Saviour.
May Dogmatic Theology be a source of grace and blessing to you all!