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A Living Prayer

Lord, we offer thanks and praise for the circle of our days.

Praise for radiant brother sun who makes the hours around us run.

For sister moon, and for the stars, brilliant, precious, always ours.

Praise for brothers wind and air, serene or cloudy, foul or fair.

For sister water, clear and chaste, useful, humble good to taste.

For fire, our brother, strong and bright, whose joy illuminates the night.

Praise for our sister, mother earth, who cares for each of us from birth.

For all her children, fierce or mild, for sister, brother, parent, child.

For creatures wild and creatures tame, for hunter, hunted, both the same.

For brother sleep, and sister death, who tend the borders of our breath.

For desert, orchard, rock and tree, for forest meadow, mountain, sea,

For fruit and flower, plant and bush, for morning robin, evening thrush.

For all your gifts, of every kind, we offer praise with quiet mind.

Be with us, Lord, and guide our ways around the circle of our days.

  • Reeve Lindbergh based on Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis of the Assisi

 

With just days before the thanksgiving weekend, I turn to this prayer of thanksgiving that St. Francis wrote towards the end of his life.  This piece is one of the best known and most used of his writings. I love this piece and it leads me to humming old hymns like “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and “This is God’s Wondrous World.” Historians shared that St. Francis wrote the first part of the prayer when he was seriously ill, the second part in an attempt to make peace between the Mayor and Bishop of Assisi and the final part on his deathbed.  Although he used binary gender references (I imagine common in the 1200s), it is a beautiful prayer of praise and has a particular resonance when people are seeking a new relationship with creation.

St. Francis of Assisi, who is known for devoting himself to a life of prayer at age 20, also embraced a life of poverty.  Additionally, he is credited for introducing the first nativity scene on Christmas Eve.  St. Francis was a lover of nature who felt that all plants and animals were part of God’s kindom and later became the patron saint of those who care for plants and animals.  He died 792 years ago today on October 3, 1226.  His “feast day” is October 4, a day where many churches host Pet Blessing services.  We will be hosting our Pet Blessing on Sunday, October 14th at 2pm.

I hope you are able to take a moment out of your day today and go outside and breathe deeply, taking in the wonders of creation that surround you from the smallest living thing to the largest.  And maybe pause a minute more to create your own prayer of thanks and praise, remembering the blessing of the life of St. Francis who made his life a living prayer.

A camel coming for a blessing at St. John the Divine in New York City

I’ll close with another powerful prayer written by St. Francis that I love,

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

May it be so, Jen

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