Why do the faces of animals evoke wonder in us? Perhaps three reasons.
First, they are beautiful.
Second, we recognize in them a common consciousness, a beholding and being beheld, and it is a delight to see this.
Finally, we see this consciousness in animals more readily than in ourselves (with the exception of babies and young children).
This is for two reasons. First, people develop a defensive boredom and sinful disinterest in the world which is like unto a thick skin covering over the soup of the soul.
Second, we are constantly working to distinguish people, to tell one person from another in order that we not mix people up. Because of this, we are often too caught up in recognizing difference to behold what makes us one and the same. So much of our interaction with other people is reducible to business that we rarely allow ourselves to rest in the vision of another human being as such. In fact, we hardly know how to do this. This makes it much easier to look in this contemplative manner at different animals than at our own species.
Yet it does happen. Every once in a while, we look into the face of another human being and remember that they too are human…we see it. And in remembering, we remember something of ourselves.
Christ now in human form sits with God the Father in heaven, so that in some respect God now eternally beholds man in himself, and in himself, man. To look with contemplative delight at another human being is to look at him or her as God does, and in some way, as God looks upon himself.