February 24. The Canticle of the Creatures. Mrs Beatus continued sharing about St Francis. “It is reported in Care for Creation (p81) that at a time, a year before his death, when he was suffering from his painful eye condition as well as effects of the stigmata he was reflecting on his troubles and he prayed to God for help. He heard a voice which told him that his troubles were in fact a great treasure securing his entry into God’s kingdom. After that moment he felt so close to God that he said he wanted to sing and that is when he composed the major portion of The Canticle of the Creatures. It is a hymn of praise to God for the elements of creation and more. It consists of three parts. 1. Elements of creation giving praise to God. 2. A short section, mentioning people, was included addressing a conflict between the mayor and the bishop in Assisi in which Francis was mediating. Due to his health he was unable to be present but sent the challenging reflection and call for peace. Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of you and bear sickness and trial with peace. The outcome of this was a reconciliation between the two men. 3. The canticle “Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death, a tribute to death was composed shortly before his own death in 1226. He speaks about a first and second death and those who endure the first death – dying to self – will not be harmed in the 2nd bodily death. What does this mean? All of Francis’ life was a death” because it involved continual repentance and letting go for the sake of the other, a constant, “dying to self” so that Christ might live in him. From Care for Creation P90-91.
The Canticle of All Creatures
Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord, All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.
Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun, Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour, Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods, by which You cherish all that You have made.
Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water, So useful, humble, precious and pure.
Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire, through whom You light the night
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death, from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Blessed are they she finds doing Your Will. No second death can do them harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks, And serve Him with great humility.
Pope Francis: The bishops of Brazil have pointed out that nature as a whole not only manifests God but is also the place of his presence. The Spirit of life dwells in every living creature and calls us to enter into relationship with him. LS88.
Reflect, share, act, pray. With St Francis pray and reflect on what this Canticle of the Creatures can mean to you. You can sing the same canticle in the words of the well-known hymn ‘All creatures of our God and King.”