Day 36: All Creatures of Our God

In this Holy Week, EnviroLent returns to song. All Creatures of our God and King was penned by Saint Francis of Assisi. 1 Francis rejected his affluent upbringing, instead choosing a life of poverty and reliance on God. The order that formed out of his conversion, the Franciscans, is a mendicant order (that is, a begging order). This means they are reliant on the generosity of others (unlike, say, the Benedictines who establish a sustainable economy as part of their monastic tradition).

St. Francis is also commonly known as the patron saint of animals and ecology. It’s not uncommon to find a statue of Francis in gardens around the world. His focus on creation shines through in the hymn for today, which he penned in the 13th century.

Lyrics

All creatures of our God and King

Lift up your voice and with us sing,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou burning sun with golden beam,

Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

Refrain

O praise Him! O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

Thou rushing wind that art so strong

Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,

Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

Refrain

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,

Make music for thy Lord to hear,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

Thou fire so masterful and bright,

That givest man both warmth and light.

Refrain

Dear mother earth, who day by day

Unfoldest blessings on our way,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,

Let them His glory also show.

Refrain

And all ye men of tender heart,

Forgiving others, take your part,

O sing ye! Alleluia!

Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,

Praise God and on Him cast your care!

Refrain

And thou most kind and gentle Death,

Waiting to hush our latest breath,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

Thou leadest home the child of God,

And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.

Refrain

Let all things their Creator bless,

And worship Him in humbleness,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,

And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

Refrain

Questions & Actions

  • First, just listen to the song. Then, read the lyrics as you listen again. What from this song strikes you? What natural images capture your attention?
  • Take a moment and read the Canticle of Brother Sunthe original source of this song. What differences do you notice? Do you think these are significant?
  • Take a field trip. Load up this song and head to your favorite spot (or favorite view out a window, depending on the weather). Sit in contemplation of how God’s Spirit permeates all that you behold.

Notes:

  1. In its original form, it was called the Canticle of Brother Sun (or some variation on that). You can find the a translation of that text here.
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