Devotional for St. Francis of Assisi Sunday

I wrote this devotional for a thing my mom was doing.
*****
Devotional for the first Sunday of October, 2008.
by Justin Thornburgh

The Canticle of the Creatures

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.

To you alone, Most High, do they belong,

and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.

Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,

especially Sir Brother Sun,

Who is the day through whom You give us light.

And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,

Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.


Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,

In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,

And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,

by which You cherish all that You have made.


Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,

    So useful, humble, precious and pure.
    
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,
    producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
    Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon
    for love of You and bear sickness and trial.
    Blessed are those who endure in peace,
    By You Most High, they will be crowned.
     
    Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
    from whom no-one living can escape.
    Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
    Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.
    No second death can do them harm.
    
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,

    And serve Him with great humility.   

 

 

 

The above prayer was written by St. Francis of Assisi.  He composed it in 1224.  He would live about 2 more years–suffering from not only debilitating eye disease, but also stigmata (suffering from the wounds of Christ).  He died on October 4, 1226.  In fact, legend holds that the final stanza about Sister Death was written on his deathbed in the company of his oldest and first brothers.  Francis was told he was dying and he could do nothing but rejoice.   

 

######

St. Francis holds a special place in my heart.  He was a gentle spirit fiercely devoted to living in the most Christ like way possible.  A lover of nature.  A preacher to the birds.  A minstrel for the Lord.  St. Francis had the ability to see God in all things.  Even his suffering.
I try to do this, too.  For as long as I can remember I have seen God in nature.  That is where I go when I am feeling lost, or feeling distant from God.  I go for a walk.  I look at the trees.  I watch the birds.  I smell the autumnal breeze.  I am reminded I am not alone.  This is all of God’s creation.  If God is caring for the ant climbing the Everest of the oak tree then why should I feel alone?

Autumn always has been my favorite season.  I love the changing of the colors; the wonderful fruits and vegetables of the season; the chill in the air; and the sense of gathering:  gathering by the squirrels preparing for hibernation; gathering of families around the dining room table; gatherings of friend surrounding a bonfire. 

Autumn is also a time of preparation.  We prepare for the coming winter.  The trees shed their leaves.  We put down the storm windows.  We stock the pantry.  This is what I love about the fall.  It is a time to get ready.  We depend on each other during this time more that we do in the spring and summer.  

 

Autumn turns into winter.  Brother Sun is with is a shorter time than Sister Moon.  Brothers Wind and Air chap our faces.  Sister Water freezes.  We rely on Brother Fire to keep us warm.  Sister Mother Earth is sleeping.  All seems dead.  We are reminded of the permanence of Sister Death.
   

I have been thinking a lot about Sister Death lately.  I recently received news that a friend from college passed away, suddenly.  She was 29.  Her death reminds me that the sister we all share could come to us any time.  Death is the one thing to which no one is immune.  We all will meet our Sister.  We must remember that; and thusly, in all we do, we should give thanks and rejoice.  It is difficult in the presence of our Sister Death, but even in her presence we can give thanks for the life of the one she has taken.  If we are facing her, we should meet her and thanks God we have had the opportunity to be here and love. 

I love autumn.

With the coming of autumn and the preparing for winter I can not help but think of the coming spring.  The season of resurrection.  The promise of a new life!  We are reminded that no matter when she visits, Sister Death’s visit is not permanent.  We are promised spring!  We are promised a new life.  We can praise the Lord in the rebirth of the trees, and the hatching of the egg.  God is all around.  The promise of resurrection is there.  We just need to open our eyes.  The highest form of praise is thankfulness. 

St. Francis was thankful for everything.  Even his suffering.  I am thankful for the gift my friend has given me by being a presence in my life.  It was…is such a blessing.  We just have to give thanks.

So, in during this autumn, I will give thanks for the changing of the leaves; for the bounty of the harvest; for family and friends.  I am reminded that God is always present…always caring.

Give Thanks.

 

 


   

 

 


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