Saint Francis of Assisi

SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI (1182-1226)
Laudes Creaturarum or Cantico di frate sole

Altissimu, onnipotente, bon Signore,
tue so' le laude, la gloria e l'honore et onne benedictione.                       sono/ogni
Ad te solo, Altissimo, se konfano                                                  confanno (confare)
et nullu homo ène dignu te mentovare.[1]

Laudato sie, mi' Signore, cum tucte le tue creature,                               sia/così come tutte
spetialmente messor lo frate sole,                                                  messer
lo qual'è iorno et allumini noi per lui.                                              luce diurna
Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore:                                  by means of
de te, Altissimo, porta significatione.                                              contiene

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per[2] sora luna e le stelle:                                suora = sorella
in celu l'ài formate clarite et pretiose et belle.[3]

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per frate vento
et per aere et nubilo et sereno et onne tempo,[4]
per lo quale a le tue creature dài sustentamento.                                  sostentamento

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sor'aqua,                                             sorella acqua
la quale è multo utile et humile et pretiosa et casta.                              molto/preziosa

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per frate focu,                                            fuoco
per lo quale ennallumini la nocte:[5]
et ello è bello et iocundo et robustoso et forte.                                   giocondo

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sora nostra matre terra,                            sorella
la quale ne sustenta et governa,                                                     mantiene/alimenta
et produce diversi fructi con coloriti fiori et herba.                               frutti/così come

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per quelli ke perdonano per lo tuo amore            che
et sostengo infirmitate et tribulatione.                                             sostengono infermità

Beati quelli ke 'l sosterrano in pace,
ka da te, Altissimo, sirano incoronati.                                             poiché/saranno

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per sora nostra morte corporale,
da la quale nullu homo vivente pò skappare:                            può scappare
guai a cquelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali;[6]
beati quelli ke trovarà[7] ne le tue sanctissime voluntati,                 volontà
ka la morte secunda[8] no 'l farrà male.                                     poiché/gli = a loro

Laudate et benedicete mi' Signore et rengratiate                         ringraziate(Lo)
e serviateli cum grande humilitate.                                        serviteLo

The Canticle of the Creatures or The Canticle of Brother Sun

   Highest, almighty, good Lord,
yours are the praises, the glory and the honor and every blessedness.
   They suit you alone, Highest One,
and no man is worthy of mentioning You.
   Praised be my Lord for[9] all your creatures,
especially mister brother sun,
that is daylight, and lights us through him.
He is beautiful and radiant by means of great splendor:
he carries your sign, Highest One.
   Praised be my Lord for sister moon and the stars:
You made them bright, precious and beautiful in the sky.
   Praised be my Lord for brother wind
and for air, clouds, and serene and every kind of weather,
through which You give sustenance to your creatures.
   Praised be my Lord for sister water
that is useful, humble, precious, and chaste.
   Praised be my Lord for brother fire,
through which you light up the night:
he is beautiful, happy, robust, and strong.
   Praised be my Lord for our sister mother earth
that sustains and nourishes us,
and produces various fruit with colored flowers and grass.
   Praised be my Lord for those who forgive (others) on account of your love
and put up with infirmity and tribulations.
   Blessed are those who will put up with them in peace,
for they shall be crowned by You, Highest One.
   Blessed be my Lord for our sister corporeal death,
from which no living man can escape:
woe to those who will die in mortal sin;
blessed are those whom she will find (living) according to your most holy will,
for the second death[10] will do them no harm.
   Praise and bless my Lord and thank
and serve him with great humility.

The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (early 14th century)
Chapter 21: How Saint Francis freed the city of Gubbio from a fierce wolf.

At the time that Saint Francis was living in the city of Gubbio, a very big, terrible and ferocious wolf appeared in the countryside around Gubbio.  It not only devoured animals, but also men, to the point that all the townspeople were in great fear because the wolf often approached the city.  Everyone went armed when they went outside the city walls, as if they were going to war; but not withstanding that, anyone who, alone, met the wolf could not defend himself against it.  It got to the point that no one dared to leave the city walls due to their fear of the wolf.
On account of all this, Saint Francis, having great pity for the people of that land, wanted to go out and meet this wolf, even though the townspeople advised him against it.  Making the sign of the cross, he left the city walls with his companions, placing all his confidence in God.
Since the others were afraid of going any further, Saint Francis took the path toward the place where the wolf was.  Low and behold, as many townspeople were watching—for they had come to see this miracle—the foresaid wolf came toward Saint Francis with its mouth open; and approaching him, Saint Francis made the sign of the cross on him and told him to come, saying “Come here, brother wolf, I command you on behalf of Christ not to do any harm to me or to anyone else.”
Incredible to say, as soon as Saint Francis had made the sign of the cross, the terrible wolf closed its mouth and stopped running.  And having obeyed his command, the wolf came meekly like a lamb, and threw itself at the feet of Saint Francis in order to lie down.
Whereupon Saint Francis spoke to it like this, “Brother wolf, you have done great destruction in these parts, and have done great evil, wounding and killing the creatures of God without His permission.  And not only have you killed and devoured the animals, but you had the audacity to kill and to wound men, made in the image of God, on account of which you are worthy of the gallows like a thief and a vile murderer; and everyone is shouting and grumbling about you; and the land around you is your enemy.  But I wish, brother wolf, to make peace between you and these people, so that you will no longer harm them, and they will pardon you for all your past offenses; and neither man nor dog will persecute you anymore.”
Having said these words, the wolf showed, with its body, tail and ears, and by bowing its head, that it accepted what Saint Francis was saying and that it wished to observe it.  Whereupon Saint Francis said, “Brother wolf, since it pleases you to make and keep this peace, I promise you that I will have the townspeople provide you with whatever food you need while you are alive, so that you will not suffer hunger anymore; for I know full well that you have done evil on account of hunger.  However, since I will obtain this grace for you, I want you, brother wolf, to promise me that you will never harm any man or animal.  Can you promise me this?”  And the wolf, bowing its head, made an obvious sign of his promise.
Saint Francis said, “Brother wolf, I want you to pledge your faith to this promise so that I can trust you.”  Saint Francis extended his hand to receive the pledge, and the wolf raised its front paw and domestically placed it on the hand of Saint Francis, giving him that sign of faith.  Whereupon Saint Francis said, “Brother wolf, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ that you come with me without fear of anything, and we will go and seal this peace in the name of God.”  And the obedient wolf went with him like a meek lamb.
Seeing this, the townspeople marveled greatly.  And the news spread quickly throughout the land; whereupon all the people, big and small, male and female, young and old, ran to the central square to see the wolf and Saint Francis.  Once all the people had gathered there, Saint Francis got up and preached to them, saying, among other things, how God allows such pestilence on account of their sins; and how much more perilous are the flames of hell, which last forever for the damned, than the anger of a wolf, which can only kill the body.  How much greater must one fear the mouth of hell, when so many people hold in fear and in terror the mouth of a small animal!  “Therefore, my dear ones, return to God, and make worthy penance for your sins, and God will free you from the wolf now, and from the eternal flames in the future.”
Having said his sermon, Saint Francis said, “Listen my brothers: brother wolf, who is here before you, has promised and pledged his faith to me to make peace with you and to never harm you in any way whatsoever, if you promise to give him everyday whatever he needs to live on.  And I shall guarantee that this peace pact shall be firmly observed by him.”  Then all the people promised, with one voice, to feed the wolf indefinitely.  And Saint Francis, before all the people, said to the wolf, “And you, brother wolf, promise to observe the peace pact with these people, and to never harm neither animal, nor man, nor any creature?”  And the wolf, bending on its knees and bowing its head, and with docile movements of its body, tail, and ears, demonstrated, as much as was possible, that it wished to observe this pact with them.
Saint Francis then said, “Brother wolf, just as you pledged to keep your promise to me outside the city walls, I want you to pledge, before all these people, to keep your promise and not to deceive me, your guarantor.”  Then the wolf raised its paw and placed it in the hand of Saint Francis.  Whereupon, between this gesture and the other ones mentioned above, there was such admiration and joy among all the people, both on account of the saint’s devotion and for the novelty of the miracle as well as for the peace with the wolf, that everyone began to shout to the heavens, praising and blessing God who had sent them Saint Francis who, through his merit, had freed them from the mouth of that cruel beast.
The foresaid wolf lived in Gubbio for two years and would go domestically to the houses, door-to-door, without doing harm to anyone and without any harm being done to him, and was nourished courteously by the people; and it used to go in this manner to the houses and through the land, and never did a dog bark at him.  Finally, after two years, brother wolf died of old age.  As a result, the townspeople were very sorrowful because, seeing him go so meekly through the city, they would remember better the virtue and sanctity of Saint Francis.  Praised be Christ.  Amen.

 

[1] "e nessun uomo (ne) è degno di menzionarti"

[2] The most debated word in the poem.  It can mean "da" (like the French "par"): "Praised be God by [the creatures]."  It may be instrumental in meaning: "Praised be God by means of [the creatures]."  It may be causal in meaning, like the Latin propter: "Praised be God on account of [the creatures]."  It may translate the Latin propter quod: "Praised be God through whom [the creatures] live."  It can even translate the Latin, liturgical "per" (in) or the Greek "dià" (through).  The first two meanings are more widely accepted.

[3] "in cielo le hai create splendenti e preziose e belle"

[4] "per aria e nuvolo e (tempo) sereno e ogni (tipo di) tempo"

[5] "per lo quale ci rischiari la notte"

[6] "guai a quelli che moriranno nei peccati mortali"

[7] Morte is the subject of this verb (troverà).

[8] The "second death" is the death of the soul (damnation).

[9] See footnote 2.

[10] See footnote 8.