Today is the feast day of a saint who is very special to me – St. Francis of Assisi. I’ve shared before how important Francis was to me during the time when I was moving back toward God and Catholicism from Buddhism.
Francis suffered greatly during the last two years of his life. He was sick and in pain, blind, and spent much of that time living in a small hut that was infested with mice. Yet, he managed to see through his pain and suffering and became aware of God’s presence surrounding him. And he came to understand that all he experienced, and everything in our world, is a reflection of God.
It was during this period that Francis composed his Canticle of the Creatures, more commonly referred to as the Canticle of Brother Son. Albert Hasse, OFM, called the canticle “Francis’ resurrection song in the face of his own Good Friday. In the saint’s gracious surrender to the cross and his act of fervent trust in God, agony became adoration, pain became praise, and suffering quite literally became song.”
Today, in honor of God’s humble servant Francis, let with pray with him:
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which you give your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace, for by you,
Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve him with great humility.