Thoughts From Your Regional Formation Director – July, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,imagesJK3PBCHH

I hope you are enjoying the summer. Hope you get to read Pope Francis’s New Encyclical

“Praised Be You.”  In the spirit of Pope Francis’s Encyclical, let us take a look at one of St. Francis’s prayers The Canticle of the Creatures and our Rule.

In the Canticle of the Creatures Francis praises God for all God’s creation, the sun, moon, stars etc. and addresses them all as brother and sister brought into being by the same Father.   For Francis each creature, animate or inanimate, was a sign and reminder of God’s presence to us.

Article 18 of our Rule 18 states, “Moreover they should respect all creatures animate and inanimate which bear the imprint of the Most High, and they should strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kingship.”   This concept of universal kinship is a unique attribute and makes the Franciscan charism different from other Orders within the Church that have a Rule of Life addressing Integrity of Creation.

When Clare gazes on creation, it is not a gaze from on high, but rather the gaze of a “sister”, of esteem, sympathy and solidarity. She invites us to see that we are in a vital relationship with the trees, with human beings and with all other creatures, and that this relationship is a mutual giving and receiving, and provides for the necessities of life, allowing each creature to be authentic, to be seen and to be accepted in its uniqueness.  There should be no question of trying to take control but rather a glorious celebration of life. Clare speaks of praise as a fitting way for creating right relations with all creation, the praise of every living being who exists that has received the creative breath.

Let me close with the most beautiful prayer of St. Francis “The Canticle of the Creatures”

Most High, all powerful, good Lord, Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor, and all blessing, To You alone, Most High, do they belong, and no human is worthy to speak Your name. Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures, especially Brother Sun, Who is the day and through whom You give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor, and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.

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 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 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.


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