01-2018 Charism of the Month (Respect Life) (The Canticle of the Sun)

The Canticle of the Sun

Saint Francis of Assisi

January Charism:  Respect Life

The Canticle of the Sun is one of the most famous writings of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Written mostly from his death bed, already blind, he could not contain his passion, joy and gratitude for all of the gifts that God has created.  In the final stanzas, knowing he was dying, he also wanted to encourage his brothers to live in peace and to ask God for forgiveness so they could spend eternity with God.

As Francis believed that everything was a unique and special gift from God, he found great joy and beauty in all of Creation.  He believed that by its very existence, it gave glory to God. Blessed Duns Scotus first coined the Latin word haecceitas, which translates as "thisness".  This concept denotes the discrete qualities or characteristics of a thing that make it a particular or unique thing.  Haecceity is a person's or object's thisness. It is the individualizing difference that makes something or someone unique. We have heard this concept in statements like “there are no two snowflakes alike”.  Francis believed all of creation was unique and special.

  • Verses 1-7 give praise to God for the glories of creation. These lines are one of the reasons that we know Francis as the Patron Saint of the Environment.
  • Line 8 reminds us to seek peace; to let go of hostility and anger and to learn to forgive.
  • Francis is near death in Line 9. He reminds his brothers to make things right with God and not to wait to do so.
  • Line 10 closes the prayer by giving praise to the God he has loved and served.

“The Canticle is a clarion call to put on the spirit of Jesus as exemplified by Francis.”

Catch Me A Rainbow Too by Lester Bach, O.F.M.


  1. Most High, all powerful, all good Lord, all praise is Yours, all glory, all honor and blessings. To You alone, Most High, to they belong and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.
  2. 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 splendor. Of you Most High, he bears the likeness.
  3. Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the Stars. In the Heavens You have made them bright, precious and fair.
  4. Praised be You my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and fair and stormy weather, all weather’s moods by which You cherish all that You have made.
  5. Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, so useful, humble, precious and pure.
  6. Praise be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
  7. Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
  8. 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.
  9. Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Dearth, from which 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.
  10. Praise be You, my Lord, and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.