Entranced by St. Francis

This is a bit late, but it’s never too late to celebrate the life of St. Francis of Assisi. I have to say, I was a little taken aback by the Canticle of the Creatures, Francis’ famous poem that, shamefully, I don’t remember reading until last week. Take a glimpse, and at first it seems like Francis is worshiping nature:

Praised be you, my Lord
with all your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
who is the day through whom
you bring us light.

And he is lovely, shining
with great splendor,
for he heralds you, Most High.

Praised be you, my Lord,
through Sister Moon and Stars.
In heaven you have formed them,
lightsome and precious and fair.

And so it goes, on and on praising our “siblings” of nature. How strange to equate ourselves with the earth, wind and fire. (Sorry, didn’t mean to bring up a 1970’s R&B group.) But then I read this in an article from Franciscan Media:

Through his life in Christ, Francis came to see that Christ cannot be limited to a single human person; rather, Christ encompasses the whole creation. Nowhere is this more evident than in his Canticle of the Creatures. By entering into the heart of Christ, Francis found Christ at the heart of the world. The life of Francis indicates to us that to be a Christian is to find Christ in every person and living creature, and to be in union with Christ is to experience God’s goodness throughout creation, not just in a church. Christ, the risen incarnate Word of God, encompasses the whole creation.

Well, duh, if God created everything, including people, then we’re all part of God’s creation. We may be on different levels in many ways, but we all have one thing in common: God. Unless, of course, we discount Creationism and focus on the Big Bang Theory. But even then, there is a common sense of creation and evolution that unites us.

I have been thinking about this since Francis’ feast day on October 4. Francis had a deep connection with all of creation, not just with the dogs, sheep and other animals with which he’s often pictured. He seems even cooler to me than he did before, and he makes the world seem that much more amazing.