Did you see something move out of the corner of your eye? Well, chances are that it wasn’t just your imagination.
Unless you’ve been hiding somewhere, you’ve probably noticed that our part of Texas has been overrun by crickets for the past few weeks. It’s almost to Biblical plague proportions, or at least it feels like it.
An unusually warm winter and spring in combination with other weird weather patterns, have led to a huge surge of the chirping critters to come earlier than normal and with higher fertility rates. Private homes, to public spaces, and even worship spaces have been occupied by crickets.
These insects may be relatively harmless, but I often find them most distracting at mass. When they irreverently chirp during a homily or limp under the kneelers trying not to be squashed, it’s hard to ignore them.
Even though I’ve been trying hard to kick them outside without killing them, I feel like I must be even more vigilant with those inside a church. These crickets are the smartest of the bunch. In their short little lives, they knew to pick the house of God and be close to His true presence in the tabernacle. It feels somehow more wrong to kill them in His house.
This brings up a common question. Does the commandment “Thou shall not kill” apply to insects?
All we have to do is look at the old testament law that centered around the commandments. It forbids murder, but it still required the blood and sacrifice of animals. This clearly points out that human life is held at a higher respect than animals in the hierarchy of creation. Animals and insects do not have souls like we do, and killing them is not murder, so no worries about mortal sin.
Still, we are called to be prudent and charitable stewards of the creation God entrusted to us. These annoying little creatures didn’t create themselves. In His providence, God created crickets, mosquitoes, and even cockroaches, and it’s hard to believe that they didn’t mean something to Him if he made so many of them.
I’m not saying I don’t kill bugs, because I don’t like to share my personal space with them. Pest will be pest, and in our annoyance, we can find small sacrifices and lessons is virtue.
All things considered, these noisy little invaders aren’t the worst of worries. At least it’s not cockroaches, and word is that the crickets may help bring down the mosquito population. God’s divine mercy revealed.
For some Friday fun, try learning how to chirp like a cricket.