The Canticle of Creation

It’s Oct. 4, the day many Christians remember the life of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Below is a prayer St. Francis wrote as he was approaching his own death.  One can see the way Francis viewed all of creation as being a gift of Creator God.

I invite you to take a moment from your busy day to pray this prayer.  Read it once to get the feel of it.  Then read it again, as a prayer of your own, giving praise to God.  If you enjoy this prayer, you might enjoy writing your own prayer of thanks for all that God has created.

The Canticle of Creation
By Saint Francis of Assisi

O Most High, all-powerful, good Lord God,
to you belong praise, glory,
honor and all blessing.

Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation
and especially for our Brother Sun,
who brings us the day and the light;
he is strong and shines magnificently.
O Lord, we think of you when we look at him.

Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Moon,
and for the stars
which you have set shining and lovely
in the heavens.

Be praised, my Lord,
for our Brothers Wind and Air
and every kind of weather
by which you, Lord,
uphold life in all your creatures.

Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Water,
who is very useful to us,
and humble and precious and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom you give us light in the darkness:
he is bright and lively and strong.

Be praised, my Lord,
for Sister Earth, our Mother,
who nourishes us and sustains us,
bringing forth
fruits and vegetables of many kinds
and flowers of many colors.

Be praised, my Lord,
for those who forgive for love of you;
and for those
who bear sickness and weakness
in peace and patience
– you will grant them a crown.

Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister Death,
whom we must all face.
I praise and bless you, Lord,
and I give thanks to you,
and I will serve you in all humility. 

Until next time, Amen! 



Friends with You by John Denver

You may be thinking I’m a little slow to sign up for Facebook. Now that I’m on there, I’m astounded at the number of past friends I’ve been able to connect with, if only just to see their photo faces smiling at me on my computer screen.

It makes me think of how we are all truly connected in the “mystical Body of Christ” or, to put it another way, the interconnectedness of all people so many spiritual writers ponder.

Saint Valentine’s Day is a good day for pondering the our many relationships. I think of John Denver’s song “Friends with You”:

Friends I will remember you, think of you
Pray for you
And when another day is through
I’ll still be friends with you

That’s how I feel about all of you: even when I am cooped up in my writer’s studio, I’m thinking about you, praying for you… and am grateful for your many prayers for me.

If you feel like a little break from your work, a mini-spiritual meditation, check out this short YouTube video set to the song:

[If you are receiving this in email, you may need to go to my blog to see the video. Or, visit YouTube and search “John Denver Friends with You.” The video is by Catbrush 123. ]

Happy Valentine’s Day–and, until next time, Amen!

No Man Is an Island: Praying for Japan


Cherry blossoms
In Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize many things, including beauty and the transitory nature of life. (Click once or twice on the picture to enlarge it.) Photo by Radu Razvan


As I write this, Japan is dealing with the aftermath of the recent earthquake/tsunami and experiencing the agonizing wait-and-see regarding damaged nuclear power plants. All the world watches and prays with them.

 As it so happened, just after the disaster hit on the other side of the world, I was reading a book that quoted this famous passage written by English poet John Donne (1572-1631):

 No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; everyman is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine own were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for who the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

 This reflection is but a portion of Meditation XVII, found in Donne’s book called Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, written while John Donne was confined to bed with a long illness. He would listen to the church bells calling people to gather for prayer. Sometimes the bells signaled a funeral–whose funeral might it be? Would the person who lay dying know the bells were calling people for a funeral? John Donne even wonders if perchance the bells are tolling for his own funeral, but is too sick to comprehend that the bells are for him.

 While pondering the meaning of the bells and the human condition, he comes to the awareness that we are all interconnected by the fact of our human nature. When one suffers, we all suffer. The suffering is not identical, of course, but when one suffers, we all feel the effects. When one rejoices, we can rejoice with them. We are not isolated, unfeeling robots, but rather members of the one human family.

 In Donne’s meditation, England is the “island” that appears separate from continental Europe, but is not really alone. When I read the passage the other day, I thought of the islands that form Japan, seemingly separate from the rest of Asia, but now, in our day, an important culture and piece of the bigger global community. Here is a more modern version of the passage:

 No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Today, we remember the people of Japan in our thoughts and prayers: O God, be with all those who suffer pain, grief, confusion, and the exhaustion of natural catastrophes. Guide and strengthen the arms of those who rescue and minister to the needs of others. Give us the courage to do what we can to support and comfort all those in need. Amen.


 Note: Reuters News Service has a list of relief agencies serving in the crisis in Japan. To view this list and donate, click here.

 Selected sources consulted for this post:

 Link to the source of cherry blossom photo: