Today, October 4, is the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Perhaps the most beloved non-biblical saint of the Church, Francis is celebrated by virtually every Christian tradition, Catholic and non-Catholic, as well as respected by many non-Christians, for his deep love of God and all Creation and the simplicity of his life. His rule was the gospel, nothing else.
Born in Assisi in 1182, he lived a dissolute life until he converted to Christ. Renouncing his paternal wealth, he lived among nature, rebuilding the little church at San Domiano and attracting followers impressed by his evangelical poverty and preaching of the love of God. His rule was approved by the Holy See after Pope Innocent III experienced a dream of Francis saving the Church from collapse. Eventually, Francis also founded a community of religious women and a society of laypersons who strive to live according to his example while still living in the world. Francis received the stigmata representing all five wounds of Christ in 1224. Francis died in 1226 and was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in 1228.
Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis of Assisi
Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honour, 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 splendour!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised 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 coloured 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 who will
find 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.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.