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Praise God Always
Diane M. Houdek
Source: Bringing Home the Word
Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013

One of Francis’s greatest works is his “Canticle of the Creatures.” Composed in his native Umbrian dialect, it is considered one of the first great Italian poems.

The Canticle expresses Francis’s praise for God through all created things: the sun, the moon, the stars, earth, wind, fire, and water, pardon and reconciliation among human beings, a graceful acceptance of death.

Francis composed this great poem late in his life. He was nearly blind from an eye disease acquired on his missionary travels. He could no longer see any of the natural delights that he had enjoyed throughout his life. His praise of Brother Fire extended to a peaceful acceptance of a painful cauterization of his eyes.

In the midst of darkness and suffering, he praised light and joy. The paradox of our Christian life will always be that only through death do we obtain eternal life. If we begin with that belief as our firm foundation, we can follow Christ and all his saints in turning all of the sadness and struggles of our lives into a means of praising God in our hearts, even if our minds take a little longer to understand.

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