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A few years ago, I tried to explain to the 7th-8th graders in my catechism class how awesome St. Francis was. I told 'em about him giving up all his stuff and rebuilding the Church etc... but, for whatever reason, when I had them read the canticle of the sun it didn't do anything for them.

I reckon that in St. Francis' way, this is a very humble way of looking at creation. But it more or less fails to resonate with me or my students. What does the Canticle of the Sun say to 21st century Christians and if it doesn't say anything to them, what might that say about 21st century Christians?

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Would music help? The hymn All Creatures of Our God and King is based on the Canticle of the Sun. –  Bruce Alderman May 11 '12 at 4:41
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What I find interesting about that is that anthropomorphic projection focusing on the elements, sun, moon and death seems almost more paganistic than Christian. Indeed, the claim of the sun as being in God's likeness is contrary to Genesis, where it is man created with likeness. Very interesting read, but if I may be so bold it doesn't seem to present anything new or especially clever - I'm not hugely surprised that it doesn't drive them into an evangelical frenzy. –  Marc Gravell May 11 '12 at 6:07
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I don't know much of the passage; but, speculating here, I can see that it could potentially have been useful in broaching Christianity to a population more used to elemental paganism, by offering familiar ground for a transition. However, I have not checked the local timeline/history to see if this was actually the case. I rather suspect it was not (except maybe to "mop up" some few stragglers) –  Marc Gravell May 11 '12 at 6:10
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Did you mean to quote something after the :? –  Flimzy May 11 '12 at 6:24
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oh, SNAP - it isn't just me that interprets it this way: satyavidya.com/stfrancis.htm –  Marc Gravell May 11 '12 at 6:28

1 Answer 1

Quote - "But it more or less fails to resonate with me or my students."

See, that's the first problem. It should first resonate with you in order to resonate with the students. For I am sure you cannot show them the beauty of it unless you yourself have grasped it. Merely reading it won't do any good.

When I heard it for the first time in the wonderful movie Clare and Francis, I was moved. What strikes me is that God is praised and thanked for all of creation. We often take these things for granted - the sun, the moon, wind, water, fire, earth, etc. I don't remember the last time I thanked or praised God for any of these.

St. Francis reached such a deeper level of appreciation for God's creation that he praised God even for all these things that the average person takes for granted.

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