The arrival of St Francis of Assisi’s day (4th October) marks the end of the church’s season of Creation Time for another year. This is my final blog in the 34 part series celebrating the Creation. I have used my own photographs (with one exception, kindly donated by Lorraine Hodgson) for all the postings until now. For the finale of the series I rely on the creative commons for a photo very few people have been privileged to capture for themselves – the Earth from the Moon. The beauty of our home planet is breath-taking.
We are the first generation of humans to have seen this image and perhaps there is a providential timeliness in this, because we are also the generation who have come into an awareness of the depth of our responsibilities for its care and conservation.
Nonetheless, the words and practices of our ancestors and predecessors in spiritual awareness have provided us with a rich inheritance of wisdom about living well and graciously with respect and gratitude for the gift of the Earth. This wisdom is captured in the great canticle attributed to St Francis of Assisi, (1181/2-1226) whose life and vision has inspired the leader of the Roman Catholic Church today to adopt the name Francis for his papacy, and whose canticle gives the title to last year’s papal encyclical about the need to care for the Earth, Laudato si’ ( Praise be to You): On Care for our Common Home.
The Canticle of the Sun – attributed to Francis of Assisi
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.
(English translation supplied by Wikipedia)