Blog # 370 St. Francis of Assisi
Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. He died in the year 1223. He was canonized as a Saint in Heaven just two years after his death. He was born of a very wealthy influential family and lived a life of luxury, then a few years as a professional soldier, and finally settled in to the life of joyful simplicity, poverty and love for the poor for which he has primarily been known and loved down through the centuries.
A story passed down about him tells of his comment on a difference between being a 'good person' and a 'saint'. . He said it is something like the difference between a man who thinks of his sweet-heart as beautiful as a rose, and a man for whom every flower reminds him of his sweet-heart.
Francis' spirituality was strongly supported by his ability to see and respond to God in all of creation around him, from a simple flower to the vastness and beauty of an open sky or the mystery of death that comes to all who live and to which he referred to as a sister. In case you did not have a copy handy I thought it would be a good tribute to him if I included his famous 'Canticle of the Sun' as a conclusion of our blog today on his feast day.
Canticle of the Sun
Oh, Most High, Almighty, Good Lord God, to Thee belong praise, glory, honor and blessing.
Praised be my Lord God, with all His creatures, and especially our brother the Sun, who brings us the day and who brings us the light; fair is he, and he shines with a very great splendor. O Lord, he signifies us to thee!
Praised be my Lord for our sister the Moon, and for the stars, which He has set clear and lovely in the heaven. Praised be my Lord for our brother the wind, and for air and clouds, calms and all weather, by which Thou upholdest life and all creatures. Praised by my Lord, for our sister water, who is very serviceable to us, and humble and precious and clean. Praised be my Lord for our brother fire, through whom Thou givest us light in the darkness, and he is bright and pleasant and very mighty and srong. Praised be my Lord for our mother the earth, the which doth sustain us and keeps us, and bringeth forth diverse fruits and flowers of many colors, and grass. Praised be my Lord for all those who pardon one another for love's sake, and who endure weakness and tribulations: blessed are they who peacefully shall endure, for Thou, O Most HIgh, wilt give them a crown. Blessed be my Lord for my sister, the death of the body, from which no man escapeth. Woe to him who dieth in mortal sin. Blessed are those who die in Thy most holy will, for the second death shall have no power over them. Praise ye and bless the Lord, and give thanks to Him and serve Him with great humility.