“No less did [Francis] desire to see and speak with her, impressed by the widespread fame of so gracious a young lady.” —The Legend of St Clare
For most of us, Francis and Clare are intricately woven together in their desire to bring people to Christ. Many times, one is not mentioned without the other. Francis saw something in Clare that he knew was special, thus his request to meet with her. And Clare knew Francis from his preaching in the square by her house. The ways in which they served God looked very different; still, they had the same goal and inspiration.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
While both Clare and Francis left the world to pursue God insofar as they abandoned their status, wealth, and security, never did they renounce the world for the sake of God. Rather, they realized that the created world was the world embraced by God; thus, God could not be found apart from the world. The world, not the monastery, was the true cloister.
It is not entirely clear whether or not Clare and her community in its early phase lived like the friars, following Christ in the world. Clare wanted a life like Francis: following the poor and humble Christ; sharing the life of the poor through manual labor; begging for food when necessary; attending to the suffering and poverty around her; and living a life of prayer and sympathy with all creation.
What exactly is this evangelical life that enkindled the hearts of Francis and Clare? Evangelical life is gospel life, a life centered on living the gospel, following the footsteps of Jesus Christ. It is not surprising that both Francis and Clare begin their rules by saying, “the form of life…is this: to observe the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”In this way they indicated that evangelical life is centered neither on work nor ministry but on how we experience the presence of God through Christ. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love
You and Brother Francis
provided a new way of serving others in the name of God.
Centuries later, we thank you for your ministries, which continue today.
3 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: Fifth Saturday”
Such a great insight. Clare and Francis did have a third way, even following the third eye as they allowed the loving gaze of Jesus transform and lead them. It is not either contemplative or active. Rather it is a reflective response to the love of Jesus which moved them. No rules or legal issues can dictate this. It is totally dependent on that intense gaze of God. When that is sustained they are alive and beautiful. The same is true of their followers. Thanks for this insight.
I Believe this prayer sums up his & her ministry:
Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Lord Jesus Christ, be the King and Ruler of our hearts, minds, lives, and home. May our lives reflect your meekness and humility that you may be honored as the King of glory! Amen.