BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON – Reflection for October 2009
On the first Sunday of October this year, Christians celebrated the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Though he lived in the late Middle Ages, he is still loved universally as a man of great simplicity who loved the poor, loved the natural world, and was a man of peace. The “Canticle of the Sun” a great song of praise to the Creator for the natural world around us is attributed to him.
The world is preparing for a crucial UN Conference of Climate Change next December, where the very survival of the planet as we know it, is at stake. Could we during this month, as both a sign of our solidarity with those most at risk from climate change and out of our own concern for the success for this Conference, say this prayer which was first made by St Francis.
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honour, 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 splendour! 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, 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 coloured 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. ..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.
(translated by Bill Barrett from the Umbrian text of the Assisi codex.)