02 July 2012

The wisdom of Francis

Yesterday I accompanied Bishop Paprocki for the celebrations marking the 175th anniversary of the founding of the parish of St. Mary of the Assumption in Sainte Marie, Illinois, a town founded in 1837 by French Catholics seeking religious liberty.

As we made our way from the sacristy to the doors of the church for the procession, I joked to the Deacon, "If Saint Francis were with us today, I think he'd add one more verse to his Canticle of Brother Sun: 'Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Air Conditioning.'"

The Deacon answered, "Would it be 'Sister Air Conditioning' or 'Brother'?"

It was a fair question that caught me a bit off guard (I know; by now you're wondering, "Where's he going with this?").  I said that Francis addresses the sun as "brother" and fire as "brother," and then it suddenly occurred to me: No where in his Canticle of Brother Sun does Saint Francis praise the Lord for snow or cold.

The Poverello is wiser than I ever knew.

At least, he doesn't give praise for snow or cold explicitly.  He does, though, through Brother Wind, give praise for "every kind of weather," which, I suppose, could include cold, but that would be a stretch, because he qualifies this praise for every kind of weather "through which you give sustenance to Your creatures."

One of these days I need to work on a little theological query as to whether winter is a direct result of the Fall of Adam.


  1. In Zoroastrian cosmology, fire, heat, and warmth are good, and cold is evil.