As I pointed out in my introductory article “Standing Laudato Si’ On It’s Head” (part 1 and part 2), Pope Francis’ call to ecological responsibility is not a small aspect of our discipleship in Christ, but central to it. Each week I will highlight of an important passage from Pope Francis’ letter on ecology, Laudato Si (Our Common Home), offering practical suggestions for families to translate these ideas into prayer and action.
“Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs”. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. (1,2)
Papal encyclicals are official letters of instruction from the Pope to all the Catholic churches of the world. The title of each encyclical comes from the first phrase of the document. In this case, “Laudato si” is from Saint Francis’ Canticle of the Sun (or Canticle of Creatures). Pope Francis’ hold up his simplicity of lifestyle and reverence for all of creation as a source for inspiration and wisdom in our troubled times.
Pray the Canticle of the Sun. If you’re feeling creative, cast family members as some of the main characters of the poem (e.g. sister moon). They can read the section of the poem about their creature or hold up a picture of the creature when it’s time.
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.
Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.
Learn about St. Francis: