Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Canticle of Brother Sun

One of the most beautiful prayers is one written by an itinerant preacher in the 13th century.  His name was Francesco Bernadone.  The world now knows him as Saint Francis of Assisi.  This prayer, considered to be one of the finest pieces of medieval poetry, was written over a period of years.  As Francis' frail body began to fail in the summer of 1226, he would request that his brothers would sing the Canticle to him to give him comfort.

On this, the feast of this humble man from Assisi, I give to you the masterful prayer from a mind untied as closely as any mind could be with God.  

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, honor, and blessings.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong;
no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.

We praise You, Lord, for all Your creatures,
especially for Brother Sun,
who is the day through Whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful, radiant with great splendor,
of You, Most High, he bears your likeness.

We praise You, Lord, for Brothers Wind and Air,
fair and stormy, all weather's moods, 
by which You cherish that You have made.

We praise You, Lord, for Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.

We praise You, Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night.
He is beautiful, playful, robust, and strong.

We praise You, Lord, for those who pardon,
for love of You bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
by You Most High, they will be crowned.

We praise you, Lord, for Sister Death,
from whom no one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in their sins!
Blessed are those that She finds doing Your Will.

We praise and bless You, Lord, and give You thanks,
and serve You in all humility.