Francis Balancing the Masculine & Feminine in Father Sky & Mother Earth

It is interesting that in his famous Cosmic Christ poem, written near the end of his life, Francis turns first to the sky, to “Lord Brother Sun” and declares its splendor and radiance, words naming the doxa and glory that always accompanies the Cosmic Christ.

Pope Innocent III (Alec Guinness) recognizes St. Francis’s (Graham Faulkner) “original innocence” in the film “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” by Franco Zefferelli (1972). Video excerpt posted by Paulo Schmidt.

He makes a brother of the sun and a Lord or governor. In praising the gifts of light, including its gift of warmth and generativity, he is following the creation story both of Genesis 1 and of John 1. The light comes first. By calling the sun “Lord,” he is rejecting the many ‘lords’ of the feudal era in favor of Father Sky’s lordship. 

Francis shows an amazing balance of feminine along with the masculine in this poem, so revealing of his balanced soul. Following immediately on praising his “brother sun,” he turns to praising his sisters.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;  
In the heavens you have made them bright  
And precious and fair.

St. Francis receiving St. Clare: the life of St. Francis is depicted in a series of chapels of the Sacra Monte di Orta in Italy. Photo by Mattana. Wikimedia Commons.

The themes of light, splendor and illumination are continued as he celebrates the “brightness” of the moon and stars, the inhabitants of Father Sky. For Francis, the Cosmic Christ—“the light who enlightened all who have life”—is present in all creatures, and therefore all creatures are brother and sister to one another. The kinship and interconnectivity of all creatures is celebrated. Creatures make up a single family, they are brothers and sisters.

Continuing his poem, he praises “Brothers Wind and Air…and all the weather’s moods,” along with “Sister Water” who is “so useful, precious and pure,” and “Brother Fire through whom you brighten up the night” and who is “full of power and strength.”

Tony Wright’s artistic setting of “Canticle of the Sun” won the Benjamin Franklin award. Video presentation of the book by Tony Wright.

And next he praises our mother and sister Earth:

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,  
Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces  
Various fruits and colored flowers and herbs.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, p. 115.

Banner Image: A monument to St. Francis in Léon, Mexico. Photo by Zarateman. Wikimedia Commons

Queries for Contemplation

How important is it that Francis dances from the masculine (Brother Sun) to the feminine (Sister Moon and Stars) and back to the masculine again? What does that tell you about his strong masculine soul? Is this dynamic found in today’s culture and in the images we give men and boys to live by?

Recommended Reading

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

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4 thoughts on “Francis Balancing the Masculine & Feminine in Father Sky & Mother Earth”

  1. Avatar

    Truly brought to tears in watching both videos. Thank you so much Matthew. I hope you realize like Francis does in the video the importance of the work you are doing.
    Your work has been a beacon in my life and
    I know in the lives of many others and
    I am so grateful.
    Humility is the touch of Gods lips upon our hands and our feet.
    May you as well as all Gods creatures be enlivened in our work to Love one another????

  2. Avatar

    All of Us must balance our Feminine and Divine Spiritual Energies within and among Us on our spiritual journeys with one another, with beautiful Sacred Mother Earth and All Her living creatures and graceful abundance, and All Our Source~Creator’s Sacred multidimensional-multiverse COSMOS in the ongoing evolution of HER~HIS LOVING diverse Wholeness~ONENESS in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….

  3. Avatar

    Thank you. It is fascinating to me that the moon and stars, water, earth and death are all feminine, especially Sister Bodily Death. Death surely is nothing to be feared.

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