vation.” Christians understand that no one can love another ifrnhe has not first loved himself. This is the wisdom of Bernard dernClairvaux, who said that nature directs us to love our own fleshrnbut teaches us also to limit our self-love to minister to a brother’srnneed. This insight on moral development stretches back tornthe ancient Stoics and to Aristotle.rnWho can love another species, if he has not first loved hisrnown? Love of God and His creation begins with the infant’srnlove of self, the child’s attachment to his mother, and grows ultimatelyrnto a love that transcends even the self from which it began.rn”Wliosoever loves God aright,” says St. Bernard, “loves allrnGod’s creatures.” Failure along the way results in a stunted personality,rna per’erse being whose hatred of his parents, for example,rnmay be expressed in apparenfly humanitarian gestures towardrnthe children of the world but cannot disguise therndisordered and spiteful character of the cold-hearted philanthropist.rnSt. Francis’ bizarre affection for the birds and the fishes wasrnnot at odds with his love of his fellow-man. Delusional he mayrnhave been, or simply too good for this world, yet Francis neverrnasked ordinary people to deny their human nature or to elevaternthe dumb beasts to the human level. In the rules drawn up forrnhis order, he deliberately did not exclude meat from the diet ofrnhis fratres minores, because he did not want them to put themselvesrnabove secular priests. Francis may have preached to thernfishes, but he also sent baskets of fish to the monks who gavernhim the use of a church, and when he was told of the hungercrazedrnwolf that was ravaging the livestock and killing thernpeople of Gubbio, he made the wolf promise to leave peoplernand chickens alone in return for being fed by the peoplernof the town. We are not told that he expected the wolf to gornvegetarian.rnMan was made to live in the company of God’s other creatures,rnthat Francis celebrated in his famous cantico: “Laudatornsie, mi Signore, con tutte le tue creature.”rnThis may be why, the more we cut ourselves off from the naturalrnworld, the more we adopt pets and indulge in a perversernsentimentality toward rabbits and even toads, until we can nornlonger distinguish our child from the photograph of a starvingrnSomali baby, our next-door neighbor from our neighbor’s Akita,rna rapist and murderer on death row from the unborn baby itrnis our dut)’ to protect. The “telescopic philanthropy” that Dickensrnderided in the international busybodies of his own day hasrnbeen extended to an all-encompassing embrace of life for life’srnsake that diminishes —and perhaps annihilates—the sacrednessrnof the innocent lives that are entrusted to our care. Inrnweaving a seamless garment of life, theologians have reallyrnstitched and patched a motley garment with bits and pieces ofrnScripture sewn into Enlightenment universalism and an orientalrnpantheism whose origins are more satanic than divine.rnThe true garment of life was revealed to St. Peter in Acts 10.rnReluctant to eat unclean meat with the gentile Roman centurion,rnhe fell into a tiance, and he saw descending from heaven arngreat vessel, taking the form of “a great sheet knit at the four corners,rnand let down to the earth: wherein were all manner ofrnfour-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creepingrnthings, and fowls of the air.rn”And there came a voice to him. Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”rnAnd when Peter still refused that which was common and unclean,rnthe voice spoke to him again, saying “What God hathrncleansed, that call not thou common.” Obedience is the point,rnwhether we are the first man in the garden, the first aposfle tornpreach to the gentiles, or the first man on the block to own anrn”assault” weapon. We human beings are, as we were made,rneaters of meat striving to maintain a precarious order against thernforces of darkness that threaten to break through the walls of ourrncivility and engulf us. Today, there is a moral and spiritual warrnto defend life going on, and vegetarians, pacifists, and deathrowrnprotesters have enlisted with the enemy.rnLIBERAL ARTSrnOUT WITH THE OLD.,rnNow I lay me down to sleep,rnI pray the Lord my soul to keep;rnIf I should die before I wake,rnI pray the Lord my soul to take.rn-Anonymous, ca. I2th centuryrnNow I lay me down to sleep,rnI pray the Lord my soul to keep;rnThy love stay with me through the night.rnAnd wake me with the morning light.rn-from Nursery Poems & Prayers, 1990rnAUGUST 1998/13rnrnrn