St. Francis Novena – Day 4
St. Francis Novena | Day Four: Creation
FR. JEFF SCHEELER, OFM
The Jesuit priest poet Gerard Manley Hopkins has a beautiful line in one of his poems. “The world,” he wrote, “is charged with the grandeur of God.” Though St. Francis lived long before Hopkins, I think he would agree.
Francis sensed the beauty and presence of God in the created world. It was like another “Bible” that he read and encountered the Almighty. His biographer, St. Bonaventure, put it this way: ”In beauty, he saw Beauty itself.”
Bonaventure also poetically described creation as the “footprints of God.” In his beautiful “Canticle of the Creatures,” Francis praised God who made all things: moon, stars, wind, fire, and water. He wrote, “Praised be you my Lord, for Brother Sun; of You most High, he bears the likeness.” Feeling the warmth of the sun made him think of the warmth of God’s love. Even the sight of a worm on the side of a road after a storm reminded him of Jesus because of the passage from Isaiah describing the suffering of Jesus: “I am a worm, and no man.” The whole world, from the majestic sun to the tiniest creature, reminded Francis of the Creator, and to him it was all beautiful and good.
And not only did he sense the presence of God in creation, but Francis realized that all things were connected, because all had been created by God. He had a sense that everything and everyone was Brother and Sister, even the “Brother Thief” who robbed him one day on the road and “Brother Fly” who pestered him. At the end of his life, he welcomed Sister Death as a door that opened his life to the full experience of God.
I don’t do it often enough, but I find taking a walk in the woods to be centering and calming. In the spring, the trees and shrubs start budding and coming to life. The sounds of insects and birds speak a beautiful language. In the fall, we experience the marvelous colors; in winter there is a silence that speaks volumes. I have a friend who often described himself as feeling “discombobulated,” a delightful word I take to mean confused, unconnected, even a little frantic. Listening to the birds or the sounds of a thunderstorm, or watching a sunrise, can put our lives back together again. We can sense our place in God’s creation. And in reverencing other creatures, we praise the God who made us all.
Let Us Pray
Gracious God: I thank you that I, and all my fellow creatures, my brothers and sisters, are wonderfully made. When I realize that I am your creature, beautiful and good, I feel whole, and sense that I am part of all that you have made, and I am re-charged by the grandeur I experience.
(Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, is the pastor of Church of the Transfiguration in Southfield, Michigan.)
Pray the Novena to St. Francis of Assisi
Read by Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM
St. Francis saw God in all of His creation and praised God for this wonder. Post your prayer intentions to him on our Prayer page.
The Novena to St. Francis of Assisi
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Poor and humble Saint Francis, through your kind intercession we seek to love God above all things. We seek the faith, hope and love that moved you to joyfully renounce honors and riches and to radically follow our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pray for us that we come to see the privilege of suffering with and for the poor after the example of Jesus. Help us to be always grateful for all the blessings we have received and give us the strength to overcome our most pressing concerns.
(Include your personal intentions now.)
Holy St. Francis, your concern for God’s creation caused you to be named patron of ecology. May we, through your prayers, follow your footsteps in being good stewards of all of creation which God our Creator has provided. May we also be faithful stewards of the skills and abilities we have been given.
St. Francis, help us to continue praying for the grace to truly repent and change our hearts by actively seeking reconciliation with God and all those we have offended or hurt in any way. May the blessings we receive through your intercession deepen our faith, and inspire us to store up treasures in Heaven, where we hope to spend eternity with our loving God.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen
St. Francis of Assisi, Pray for us!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
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Videos and articles on St. Francis at Franciscan Media.
We follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Francis, learn more at Franciscan.org