by HFH Reuvers


What is the main difference between an animal and a man?
We already noticed human mind can climb to God. As to intelligence, however, I see little difference between a dog and a toddler that's two years of age.
My mother told me on my seventh birthday I had reached the years of discretion now. It's about being able to distinguish between good and evil. A seven year old child will soon be allowed to confess and receive holy communion for the first time.
Are children under seven years of age less human, like dogs?
There is a difference in bent, but a young child is as innocent as a dog. By the way, the age limit of seven years isn't strict: some people always stay children.

In my childhood I learned the following traditional nursery rhyme:

At night when I am bound to sleep, then fourteen angels come to peep:
two at my head side, two at my feet side,
two at my left side, two at my right side,
two that will cover, two that will hover,
and two that flee high to heaven in the sky.

When my little brother died at the age of seven, he was buried in a white-blue little coffin after an "angel's mass". He was going straight to heaven.
Joost van den Vondel wrote after the decease of his little son Constantijn:

Constantine o blissful childe, Little cherub in the sky,
We're so idle you can't bridle Laughing with a drowsy eye.
"Mum start smiling don't keep crying, Don't stay weeping on my thigh.
I am laughing I am flying, Angel reaching really high:
And I'm blinking and I'm drinking, and I'm thinking of all good
that God's giving to the living Frisky souls with plenty food.
Come fast nigher from the mire By a dream of paradise,
Please start dreaming and stop screaming, Lasting joy is always wise."

Are dogs going to heaven, too?
There might be place for them in a "resort for innocent beings". If we join Vondel's imagery, little Constantijn can play with his doggy in all eternity.