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  Life of St. Francis
  Selected Readings
  Writings - St. Francis
The Exhortation
Praises of God

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First Version
of the Letter
to the Faithful

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Prayer Before
the Crucifix

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GENERAL..imagesblu_gry.gif (541 bytes) The Canticle
of Brother Sun

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A Letter to
St. Anthony

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A Letter
to the Rulers
of the People

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A Letter to
a Minister

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Prayer
Inspired by
the Our Father

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Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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Praises to
be Said at
All Hours

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The Testament
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  San Damiano Cross
  Blessing of Animals
  Prayers - St. Francis
  Prayers - St. Anthony
   St.Clare of Assisi
  Franciscan Devotions
   Little Flowers
   Of Saint Francis
   The Portiuncula
   Franciscan Calendar  of Saints & Blesseds
   The Transitus
    
    
    

 

The Canticle of Brother Sun

Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor,
and all blessing.

To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention 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.

Praise 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 which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which 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 Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with colored 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, they shall be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy willl,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

AMEN


Song, music, and poetry were so deeply a part of the nature of Saint Francis that in times of sorrow and sickness as well as of joy and good health he spontaneously gave voice in song to his feelings, his inspirations, and his prayers. The clearest expression of this aspect of the personality of the Poverello is the Canticle of Brother Sun. G. K. Chesterton, in his reflections on the saint, wrote of this work: "It is a supremely characteristic work and much of Saint Francis could be reconstructed from that work alone. " And Eloi Leclercq, O.F.M., has written: "The manner in which Francis here looks at the created world is a key to his inner self, for the Canticle undoubtedly has elements that reveal in a special way the personality of its author. "

The Canticle of Brother Sun is a piece of spiritual literature that comes at a transition period in the development of language, that is, when Latin was slowly becoming Italian. For this reason, philologists and literary scholars as well as students of spiritual theology have studied this work. In the twentieth century more than five hundred articles have examined the Canticle and within the past twenty years ten books have been written about it.

The Legend of Perugia, 43, narrates the circumstances of the composition of the first section of the Canticle, in which the saint invites all creation to praise its Creator. The author describes the intense suffering of the Poverello in that period after he had received the stigmata. "For his praise," he said, "I wish to compose a new hymn about the Lord's creatures, of which we make daily use, without which we cannot live, and with which the human race greatly offends its Creator." The second section of the Canticle, consisting of two verses concerning pardon and peace, was composed a short time afterward in an attempt to unite the quarrelling civil and religious authorities of Assisi. The same Legend of Perugia, 44, describes the reconciling power the Canticle had in the resolution of the conflict. The final verses of the work, which constitute the third section, were written at the death of Saint Francis. Once again the Legend of Perugia, 100, provides the details of the scene at the Portiuncula where the Seraphic Father enthusiastically sang the praises of Sister Death and welcomed her embrace.

This magnificent hymn expresses the mystical vision of the Saint of Assisi and, since it springs from the depths of his soul, provides us with many insights into the profundity of his life of faith in the Triune God, Who so deeply enters into creation. In this vision, however, the Little Poor Man does not lose himself in space or in the vastness of the created world. He becomes so intimate and familiar with the wonders of creation that he embraces them as "Brother" and "Sister," that is, members of one family. More than any other aspect of the Canticle, this unique feature has enhanced the spiritual tradition of Christian spirituality.

(This introduction on the "Canticle" has been taken from: The Classics of Western Spirituality - Francis & Clare - Translation and Introduction by: Regis J. Armstrong, OFM, Cap. and Ignatius C. Brady, OFM).