Celebrating Lent – Living the Canticle

During this year’s Lent and Holy Week we will reflect on ways to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. The Sisters of St. Francis have chosen Goal Four: Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles as our congregational focus for Year Two of the Laudato Sí Action Platform. This platform is a shared space offered by the Vatican to support all people of good will in their journey to integral ecology
www.laudatosiactionplatform.org. Using St. Francis’ “Canticle of the Creatures” as our framework, we will offer daily quotations from Sacred Scripture, St. Francis, Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’, and other spiritual guides to help us reflect on our relationships with the earth and one another. We will also invite you to consider a suggested intention, action, or learning opportunity each day during Lent. As we journey together this Lenten season, may we make conscious choices to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

According to Ilia Delio, OSF, in “A Franciscan View of Creation: Learning to Live in a Sacramental World.” Volume 2 of The Franciscan Heritage Series, The Canticle of the Creatures is a hymn of praise that recapitulates Francis’s journey to God in and through the beautiful things of creation. For Francis all creation became a manifestation of the goodness of God. But the Canticle also represents a lifetime of conversion, as Francis strove to be a brother to all things.

… The Canticle reminds us that we humans are as dependent on the elements of creation as they are dependent on us. With his marvelous respect for creatures of all kinds, for sun, moon, stars, water, wind, fire and earth, Francis came to see that all creation gives praise to God. Brother Sun and Sister Moon praise God just by being sun and moon. We might say that Francis became sensitive to the goodness of creation so that he came to understand, hear and see the sun and moon praising God. The Canticle foreshadows the new creation where we will find ourselves related to all things of creation in a spirit of reconciliation and peace. It brings to our awareness that the entire creation is charged with the goodness of God so that, even in eternal life, creation will offer praise and glory to the most high.

Join us this Lent by downloading a copy of our Lenten calendar and following along.  Click here to download the PDF.


Bible, crucifix, candle, dead twigs

Hymn Suggestions:

Again We Keep This Solemn Feast (ERHALT UNS, HERR)
Amazing Grace (NEW BRITAIN)
Attende Domine (Chant)
Be Not Afraid (Dufford)
Change Our Hearts (Cooney)
Hosea (Weston Priory)
Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days (ST. FLAVIAN)
On Eagle’s Wings (Joncas)
Praise to You, O Christ Our Savior (Farrell)
Loving and Forgiving (Soper)
Remember Your Love (Dameans)
Shelter Me, O God (Hurd)
The Glory of These Forty Days (ERHALT UNS, HERR)
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy (IN BABILONE)
You Are Near (Schutte)


Lent should bring us to stand before God on our own two feet. We meet God and we meet ourselves. The weeks of Lent are not a time for fluff, for shallow prayer or vague dreams of holiness. They are a time for change in the depths of one’s spirit. The task is so serious that when Lent has ended one’s life can never be the same again.

Excerpted from These Forty Days – Lenten Exercises. Rev. John P. Henry, © 1988 Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN. www.avemariapress.com. Used with permission.


Eternal Father, we gather to be united with you as we strive to share in the passion and death of your beloved Son, Jesus. In our weakness we ask you to strengthen and guide us to live these days of Lent with the universal church. We ask you this through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

Hymn: Choose one from the list above or another Lenten hymn.

Reading: 2 Corinthians 4: 8-10

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be make visible in our bodies.

Reading 2: The acting out of love to the extent of dying on a cross is a mystery I have never been fully able to grasp. My limited ability to love stands embarrassed at such extravagance. My daily attempt to carry Jesus’ dying around in my body also falls short of my dreams. I carry my crosses carefully, trying to make sure they don’t take too much out of me.

Seasons of Your Heart. Macrina Wiederkedr, OSB. Copyright © 1991. Harper Collins Publisher, New York, NY.

(Pause for reflection.)

Psalm 51
Response: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness,
in your great tenderness wipe away my faults;
wash me clean of my guilt,
purify me from my sin. — R/

For I am well aware of my faults,
I have my sin constantly in mind,
having sinned against none other than you,
having done what you regard as wrong. — R/

God, create a clean heart in me,
put into me a new and constant spirit,
do not banish me from your presence,
do not deprive me of your holy spirit. — R/

Be my savior again, renew my joy,
keep my spirit steady and willing;
and I shall teach transgressors the way to you,
and to you the sinners will return.. — R/

Psalm is reprinted from Psalms Anew by Nancy Schreck, OSF and Maureen Leach, OSF, © 1984 The Sisters of St. Francis, Dubuque, Iowa. Used with permission.

Leader: We offer our prayers to our compassionate Father in Jesus’ name.

For all the members of the Church, called to fervent prayer and penance during this holy season, we pray…

For peace throughout the world, we pray…

For those who are poor and unemployed, we pray…

For those who need forgiveness and those who need to move toward reconciliation, we pray…

For all of us to fast from that which is keeping us from hearing God’s voice in our lives, we pray…

Leader: Compassionate God, we trust that you hear our prayers and that you will grant us your mercy..

Our Father

Closing Prayer:
Loving God, these weeks of Lent have caused us to reflect upon the passion and death of our Lord. May we also remember his victory over death. This we ask in his name. Amen.

Sign of Peace

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989 by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.