Above : Listen to Canticle of the Creatures
Below : Scroll down to read the Canticle of the Creatures
If we listen to the Canticle of the Creatures it’s possible to hear how St Francis of Assisi felt and understood that our life is intimately connected with Creation, with God’s Creation. God’s artistry is in everything, everywhere and we as humanity are part of His creativity. It is within Creation where divinity and humanity became one, when Jesus was amongst us and it is within Creation that God’s Holy Spirit dwells with us today.
If we view Creation only in terms of ecology, nature, botany and biology we see ourselves apart from God’s Creation, instead of being a part of His Creation. If we view Francis only in terms of a modern day eco-warrior we completely miss his spirituality and the Franciscan charism.
For Francis, as God is Our Father, he saw family relationships within all Creation. Birds, fire and wind are brothers. The moon, stars and water are sisters and our planet Earth who nourishes us is Mother. Creation is nature viewed with The Creator in mind, creation is fullness, life and community.
In the Canticle of the Creatures Francis displays a confident humility, a humility that rejoices, offers praise, gives thanks and shows love to God. There is no demand made of God and no focus on self as can so often be found in modern day “Worship Music”.
Francis’ canticle tells us that creatures and elements reflect in their beauty and strength the blessings that come from God, this is one of the ways He is present with us today.
Francis wrote this canticle during the early months of 1225 and it’s thought to be the earliest piece of literature written in the Italian language, he dictated the final three paragraphs before his death in 1226.
Canticle of the Creatures
Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honour, and all blessing,
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no human is worthy to mention Your name.
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 splendour;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,
through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night,
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your
love, and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, shall they be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.
[FA:ED Vol 1 – The Saint p113-114]
[Canticle of the Creatures is also known as The Canticle of Brother Sun, The Canticle of the Sun, and Laudes Creaturarum – Praise of the Creatures]
Hear also: All Creatures of Our God and King
See and hear the Canticle of Creatures in the Italian Umbrian dialect that Francis would have spoken.
Read Psalm 148 on which St Francis of Assisi based his canticle.
Photo: Ventnor Downs, Isle of Wight