Canticle of Brother Sun
Saint 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.
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.
Even a non-theist like me can appreciate the essential insight and thanks in this poem from the thirteenth century by the one whom I consider to be the first environmentalist – and a fellow Camino Santiago pilgrim! I left the stanza on Bodily Death in (save for one line) because, religious or not, we should all care about how we live while we are sharing this place and prepare for a departure eased – made joyful, even – by the sense that we have cared about our “Brothers” and “Sisters” on whom we depend and who, in turn, depend on our faithfulness to all life.
I found it (while looking for something else for a future blog) in my well-thumbed, autographed, copy of David Suzuki’s great 1997 book written with Amanda McConnell, The Sacred Balance.
Happy Feasting, Everyone!