Canticle of the Sun?

I like this hymn, or poem, whatever it may be, and admire Francis of Assisi very much. However do the words seem like nature worship to anyone else, or am I just reading into it the wrong way? I assume I am wrong as this is a very traditional Catholic hymn, first to be introduced in the Italian language, but I feel like the words are almost praising the sun and the moon and animals etc. Can someone elaborate?

St Francis is praising God for creating those things.


Here it is put to music on a video

St Francis’ Canticle is addressed to God. I find it much tamer than Psalm 148, where the psalmist goes even further and directly addresses various elements of creation themselves, including the sun, moon and stars, wind, fire, water, telling them to praise the LORD.

There is nothing “nature worship” about praising God, even if praise is given by giving God a good review of His creatures.

Insofar as we are creatures of God, we do bear kinship to all other created things. Insofar as we are God’s stewards, we are different from animals and plants and natural phenomena. Calling them “brother” and “sister” is a kindly poetic conceit, and a nice callback to Eden.

Tamer? I think there’s better diction… Addressing inanimate objects in apostrophe is a very common element of Semitic literature and there’s nothing to tame about that.

What people take issue with is the address of certain elements as brothers and sisters, and they interpret that as either a statement of equality with humanity or some kind of convoluted pantheism. As I posted in the Amazing Grace thread, one must interpret the hymn with the intention of the writer. Is the Canticle of Sun a public profession of a doctrine in an exhaustive theological treatise? No. The elements are not being equated with humanity, it’s once again apostrophe. I would venture to say that the literalism amongst some American Catholics in hymn interpretation is a Protestant importation.

Have you read the wording in the hymn? There is no mention of “brothers and sisters” whatsoever. As for the intention of the writer, the hymn praises God for all of creation. Every solemn feast day, we pray the words of Daniel 3:57-88 in our morning Divine Office. One might say it echoes the sentiments found in the Canticle of the Sun. There is nothing liturgically wrong with either hymn of praise to God for His creation.

In part …
Sun and moon, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
Every shower and dew, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
All you winds, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
Cold and chill, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
Frost and chill, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
You sea monsters and all water creatures, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.

Yes I have… I was giving a possible explanation of opposition and I refuted it.

As for brothers and sisters:
Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brothers Wind and Air, Sister Water, Brother Fire and Mother Earth…

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you. Do you see any mention of the “brothers” or “sister” in these lyrics? Perhaps in other denominations, there are different words that depict it, but in our regular missalette used for worship, there is no mention of brother or sister, as I tried to explain. Here is a link with the words found in our missalette.

I hope you would abandon your offense of it, since we pointed to the scriptures that praise God for His wonderful creation. :slight_smile: One person mentioned psalm 148 which Jesus Himself would have prayed.

:banghead: Perhaps my writing lacks a great deal of clarity. In my post I defended the apostrophe of Ps. 148, as I am a Syrian which means that I am Semitic which means that we use apostrophe very often, as do the other Semites and, amongst them as you said, Christ… There is no disagreement there, I don’t know what’s being proving to me since I just said in the last post I was defending the Canticle of the Sun against certain weak criticisms. What I took issue with in Todd977’s post is the choice of diction that the Canticle of the Sun was “tamer” than Ps. 148, which might’ve just been an innocent mistake, but nonetheless the Psalms are a paradigm of worship and nothing needs to be “tamed” about them (so, again, defending apostrophe).

That particular translation might be rendered that way - if that is the version approved in English then it is inaccurate in translating the original. In Italian St. Francis says “Frate Sole… sora luna…” etc. Whether or not the translation includes them, that is how the hymn was originally composed. That being said, I obviously take no issue with it since I’ve stated at least five times in this thread that there is absolutely no issue with apostrophe unless one is interpreting a hymn with some kind of strange literalism.

Love the Canticla and wrote a meditaiton on it for one of my books…wonder if Is till have that.

When I wrote it I was living ( pretty much as I am now but in a dfferent part of Ireland) in small cottage on a wild mountain, so close to nature, That of course is how Francis lived, amid the natural works of God. Intimately involved with and dependent on them. Totally thankful and gaining so much strength and blessing from seeing “sermons in stone and God in everything.”

here, the mountains and the sky feed me when things are hard, at market last week the sky was almost unbearably lovely. I said so to folk and we all stood there watching the cloud pageantry.

And Francis would depend for his very food on the created world… The poet Wordworth and many others knew this intimacy… God in nature…not worshipping nature

I wonder if the OP is referring to the Marty Haugen song based on Saint Francis’ poem? There is quite a difference between the two considering what it included in our hymnal, Catholic Book of Worship III.

In CBWIII Marty Haugen’s lyrics are reproduced thus:

The heavens are telling the glory of God,
And all creation is shouting for joy!
Come, dance in the forest, come, play in the field,
And sing, sing to the glory of the Lord!

Praise to the sun, the bringer of day,
he carries the light of the Lord in his rays;
the moon and the stars who light up the way unto your throne!

Praise to the wind that blows through the trees,
the seas’ mighty storms, the gentlest breeze;
they blow where they will, they blow where they please to please the Lord!

Praise to the rain that waters our fields,
and blesses our crops so all the earth yields;
from death unto life her mystery revealed springs forth in joy!

Praise to the fire who gives us his light,
the warmth of the sun to brighten our night;
he dances with joy, his spirit so bright, he sings of you!

Praise to our death that makes our life real,
the knowledge of loss that helps us to feel;
the gift of your self, you presence revealed to bring us home.

Oh, I am glad someone remembered to follow up on this. I’d realized the same thing, but had not had the time to follow up immediately. A much nicer* version – Brother and sisterful – as writ by St Francis (aside being translated ito English) may be found many places on the intertubes. This one is from the Fr Solanus Guild:
The Canticle of the Creatures

Also known as The Canticle of Brother Sun

By St. Francis of Assisi

Most High, all-powerful, 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 you have made, and first my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day;
and through whom you give us light.
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 the stars; in the heavens you have made them, bright, and precious, and fair.
All praise be yours, my Lord,
through Brothers wind and air, and fair and stormy, all the weather’s moods,
by which you cherish all that you have made.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten up the night. How beautiful is he, how cheerful!
Full of power and strength.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through our Sister
Mother Earth, who sustains us and governs us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
All praise be yours, my Lord,
through those who grant pardon for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy are those who endure in peace,
By You, Most High, they will be crowned.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death,
From whose embrace no mortal can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing your will! The second death can do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks
And serve him with great humility. +

(* :twocents: Heck, even *All Creatures of Our God and King *is better than Haugen :stuck_out_tongue: )


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