Most high, all-powerful, all good, Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor And all blessing. To you alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy To pronounce your name. All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made, And first my lord Brother Sun, Who brings the day; and the light you give to us through him. How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness. All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars; In the heavens you have made them, bright And precious and fair. (The Canticle of Brother Sun)
Most Christians, and many others, know that Saint Francis called the sun “brother” and the moon and stars “sisters.” These are, however, related to each other and to the rest of creation only through God. They cannot explain themselves. They have no value independent of God.
Thomas of Celano, Francis’ first biographer, wrote that Francis made of all creation a ladder by which to ascend to the Creator. A love of nature not rooted in the Creator will sooner or later degenerate into a sentimentality to be doled out or withheld at the pleasure of the person who sees the world this way.
If we forget this, then we will be strongly tempted to yell, “Mine, mine” about things and people who have been created for God’s pleasure. We are invited to share in that pleasure—but on God’s terms.
Lord of all Creation, Francis of Assisi had great respect for everything that you have made: trees, birds, worms, sunsets, rainbows, fire, water—and even lepers. Help us not to be stingy with our respect for all your creation because, properly appreciated, it will always lead us back to you and to the harmony you have always intended us to enjoy.