Will My Pet Be in Heaven?

The question addressed in this video runs much deeper than the cartoon classic All Dogs Go to Heaven. Fr. Mike ventures into the theology of the matter, even taking some words of wisdom from St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Paul—who says in Romans 8, that creation will “share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” But Fr. Mike also redirects our interest in heaven, helping us focus on embracing Someone far greater than our beloved pets.

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Hi, my name is Father Mike Schmitz and
this is Ascension Presents. So people will ask me all the time, ”Father, are you a dog person or a cat person?” ”Um, yes and no and I’m not sure.” What I mean by that is I like the idea of dogs, like I really do. I like the idea of,
I can see myself with my dog you know Kind of hanging out and just running
through the woods. I don’t like the idea of cats. Just kind of the idea of them,
just like ”Ugh, oof,” but But here’s the problem. When a dog is there, here, like in reality, like the concrete reality of the dog, I am kind of like, ”Eeh, yeah. You can just back away,” Because dogs are all up in your business, right?
They’re always like wanting more attention And wanting more affection and wanting, wanting, more, more, more. But when it comes to cats, again, I don’t like the idea of you, but cats in person? Like cats in reality? I’ve been at some people’s
houses where they have cats and I’m like, ”Actually, I appreciate you.” Cats are like kind of walking by, they’re like, ”Hey, what’s up?” And then they do their own thing.
I’m like, ”Thank you,” So, in theory, in abstract, I’m a dog person. In concrete, I don’t like dogs. But in theory, in abstract, I don’t like cats
but in practice, I kind of do. So, ”Yes and no and I don’t know.” (laughs)
OK. Here’s the bigger question: People will ask a lot and they’ll care a lot about the answer to this question: ”Will there be pets in heaven? Will my pet be in heaven?” Now this is a really sensitive
question for a lot of people. In fact, I think more people will care about the answer to this question Than maybe almost any other video that I’ve made
here for Ascension Presents And one of the reasons is a good reason. One of the
reasons is because when you have a pet, You often, we often give our hearts to
our pets and there’s something good about that. There’s something good about,
I guess, loving another being, Whether that’s a human being or another living being, There’s something good about giving your heart to someone or something in the right way. There’s so many families and so many people

Who have gotten so much out of being able to give their heart and give, give! And practice and train their heart in love by loving their pets. So that makes sense. It’s such a good question. You know, a lot of times when
someone has just lost their pet And they’ll ask someone who’s religious or whatever. They’ll say, ”Will my pet be in heaven?” And oftentimes the response is, ”Well, you know, if you need your pet to be happy in heaven, Then God will give you your pet.” And I guess that’s a decent answer
for someone who’s grieving. That’s a decent answer for someone who’s grieving. Here’s something that I think it’s worth just even pausing and asking Because there are some people who will say, ”No, absolutely. My pet will be in heaven.” And I understand that might come from a
heart that’s experienced great loss and So I want to be sensitive to that But why would we maintain this just outright without any basis? Heaven doesn’t exist
just because we want it And we don’t have hope in heaven just because we want it. We have hope in heaven because Jesus promises it. Jesus himself,
who created heaven and earth, the Word Through whom all things were made by the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, right? God? We don’t believe that we’re going to go to heaven just because we want it. We believe it because
he promised it. So that’s a couple of the first things we need to understand. Now when it comes to,
”Are there going to be pets in heaven?” Disclaimer: St. Thomas Aquinas, he is a
Doctor of the Church And like the number one theologian for the last 2,000 years, He says, ”No.” I say, ”Yes.” Now again, caveat. I say there will be, but here’s my caveat: My caveat is St. Thomas Aquinas is a Doctor of the Church. I am a doctor of nothing. Why would I say, why would I maintain, why would I
possibly suggest that it’s possible That there will be pets or animals in heaven? Well, really, it comes from Scripture. In at least two places. In Romans, I think
chapter 8, St. Paul says that all creation is groaning in labor pains as it awaits the redemption.

So not only will our bodies be resurrected, our bodies will be redeemed Like our human bodies but those bodies
need to occupy space. And you can imagine that the space that God will create For us to occupy, our bodies to occupy in heaven for all eternity Won’t be this sterile, bland, lifeless space Because this is the God who created the
entire universe, this planet And he places us on this planet with all of this
life and all these creatures And all these animals and all this life. So you imagine that if all creation is Groaning in labor pains until now
awaiting the redemption, Then it makes sense that
we would have a redeemed creation as well. Not just redeemed bodies but a redeemed
all the creation. In fact, St. John in the book of Revelation he says, I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The old earth that passed away and a new one was brought about. So what we can hope for is that in that new earth,
there aren’t just a bunch of redeemed resurrected bodies That are awesome and incredible occupying this
sterile, lifeless space But these awesome, resurrected, redeemed bodies Occupying an awesome, redeemed and, in some ways, resurrected earth, new creation Which would include, I imagine, animals. So in some ways, we’d say, ”Yeah, it makes a lot of sense to say that in the resurrection in heaven There will be animals.” Now, why would Thomas Aquinas say no? Two reasons. At least. One is because he’s making a
distinction between the rational soul of human beings And you know, angels
have rational souls as well And the animal soul, That the rational soul,
it’s made for something like heaven, It’s actually oriented toward
something like heaven, That its proper end is heaven, Whereas the animal soul, its proper end is creation.
Its proper end is earth. So an animal, that has an animal soul, Its proper end would be what it does here. The other reason is because what’s the goal of heaven? What’s the goal of the rational soul? What’s the goal of the human being?

It is union with God. And so heaven It’s meant to be just this, what we’re meant to be focused on is this union with God. Fullness of life revealed and fullness of life given to us,
accomplished, essentially. The answer: If you need, you know, Fluffy or Fido to be
happy in heaven, God will give you Fluffy or Fido It’s only partial Because what Thomas Aquinas was, I think, pointing at, I think at least hinting at, and what I’m going to say is If I need my pet to be happy in heaven, then I’m not ready for heaven. And I don’t mean to say that to be abrasive or to be
judgmental or to be short with anyone or insensitive. If I need anyhting other than God to be happy in heaven, then I’m just not ready for heaven And ultimately, that’s what purgatory is for, one of the reasons purgatory is for, What it is, what it does, is it purifies our heart, purifies our love so that we do learn to love God for his own sake Not just for what he gives us,
that we do learn to love God first in our lives. And everything else is … I mean, what does Jesus say, ”Seek first the kingdom of heaven.” Think ”kingdom of God”. Seek first God and everything else will be added unto you. Yes, you might be given your pet back in heaven in some way But only after you want God more than you want your pet, Only after we want God more
than we want life. Only after we want God more than anything else. This is kind of the secret. The secret of life and the secret of holiness is training our hearts and letting God’s grace move in our hearts In such a way that we learn to want him more than anything else. It doesn’t mean loving other things less.
It just means loving him more And more to the most. From all of us here at Ascension Presents,
my name’s Father Mike. God bless.

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