December 8.  Francis in his final years, having already received the stigmata and already suffering severely with a sensitivity to light, which necessitated his living almost permanently in darkness, was inspired to compose the Canticle of the Creatures.  He did so in 3 parts.  The first is praise of God from the elements of creation,  the second includes people, our tendency to conflict and need for forgiveness and healing, and the third part refers to his own imminent death, for which he had already been prepared by Jesus. The Canticle offers rich opportunities for reflection and, after this opening statement, is broken down in the various DAILY THOUGHTS.  

St Francis in his Canticle of the Creatures tells us of the all-important life-giving elements of nature that give praise to God.    Canticle 1. Most high, all powerful, good Lord,  Yours are the praises, the glory and the honour and all blessing. To you alone Most High, do the praises belong, and no human is worthy to mention Your name.

Canticle 2. Praised be You, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, who is the day and through whom You give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor; and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.

Canticle 3. Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.  

The sun’s gifts of light and warmth, absolutely essential for survival for life on earth have been impacted by human-induced climate change.  So much so that our focus is often on its dangers rather than its benefits.  “Each morning the planet turns towards the sun, soaking in its warmth and suckling its life energy.   Every second our great generous sun offers up four million tons of itself transformed into radiant light and energy for all life to use.  Green plants absorb it, convert it into food and energy which too is provided for all life, human, plant and animal. All life depends on energy, and all energy has the sun as its ultimate source. With St Francis we revel in the miracle of Brother Sun, whose  life-giving energy courses through our bodies, warming our hearts, as it ignites our dreams, our fuels and our work in the world. “ From Care for Creation. p 58      

When considering the solar system as a whole, the moon and the stars, we can ask, “Is the universe still seen as a source of amazing wonder and  beauty or as another element to be colonized and appropriated for our use? 

Scripture: Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth and the wicked be shaken out of it?  Job 38:12-13.   Pope Francis:  We need to grasp the variety of things in their multiple relationships.  We understand better the importance and meaning of each creature if we contemplate it within the entirety of God’s plan.  LS 86.  For reflection and sharing:   As family members research, read up and share on God’s discourse with Job. Are the sun, moon and stars truly recognized for their beauty, giving glory to God? Reflect on Mary and the Immaculate Conception in the context of sun, moon and stars..