FAITH: Creation, Creatures, Creator | Free sharing


AAll the creatures of our God and King

Raise your voice and sing along with us,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

You, sun burning with a golden ray,

You silver moon with a softer glow!

praise him! praise him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

This hymn line is based on the first stanza of a poem, “Cantique du Soleil”, written by Saint Francis of Assisi, who died in 1226 at the age of 45. Francis is best known as the patron saint of animals. His feast is celebrated on October 3 of each year, often with the blessing of animals and pets. This whole poem, which I will use to close this column, demonstrates that it was certainly all of these and more.

François was born in Assisi, Italy, the son of a wealthy linen merchant, whose father wanted Francis to follow in his footsteps. Francois had other ideas. He joined the army to fight Perugia and was captured in action and held in prison for ransom by his wealthy father. While in prison he had a vision that God was calling him to build his church and work among the poor and needy, helping them live better lives, both spiritually and physically. He left his father’s business and founded the Franciscan Order of Brothers who have sworn to live in poverty to share the world’s goods they owned or earned with the poor.

Francis preached to the common people, inviting them to live as Christ lived and to serve his fellow men there. It is also said that he preached to “brother and sister birds” and other animals, recognizing the interconnection of all creation. In 1979, Pope John Paul II proclaimed him patron saint of ecology because of his understanding of the intersection of all life and all of God’s creation. François is also considered the Patron of animals, of merchants, and against death alone.

In recognition of God’s call to Saint Francis, and to us to take care of our brothers and sisters and of all creation, and as a form of meditation and prayer, I leave you with the “Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon ”of St. Francis of Assisi

Most High, almighty, all good Lord, all praise is thine, all glory, honor and blessing. Thine alone, Most High, are they, and no mortal mouth is worthy of speaking thy name. Praised be you my Lord with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, who is the day by which you enlighten us. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor, From You Most High, he bears the likeness of it. Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, In the heavens you have made them shining, precious and just. Praised be You, my Lord, through the Wind and Air Brothers, and the moods of all times, beautiful and stormy, 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, by whom you light up the night and he is handsome and playful and robust and strong. Praised be You my Lord by our Sister, Mother Earth who sustains and governs us, producing various fruits with colorful flowers and herbs. Praised be you my Lord through those who grant forgiveness out of love for you and endure sickness and hardship. Blessed are those who endure in peace, Through You Most High they will be crowned. Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death, from whom no one living can escape. . . Happy are they that She finds doing Your Will. No second death can hurt them. Praise and bless my Lord and give him thanks, and serve him with great humility. Amen

May God bless us with the joy that God gave to Saint Francis.

Ben alford is the former rector of the Church of Christ Episcopal in Albertville.

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