Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Clare: Fifth Sunday

Purple flower in a field

“When she did not have a chaplet with which to count the Our Father, she would count her little prayers to the Lord with a pile of pebbles.” —The Legend of St. Clare

Clare’s holiness began while she was still a child. She was known for her mercy for others, often wore a hairshirt under her fine clothes, and vowed celibacy at a young age. Those stirrings were fueled by her mother’s staunch faith. During a war between Assisi and Perugia, she served others while her family was in exile in Perugia. It couldn’t have been easy to seem so misaligned with the society into which she was born. Despite that, however, she was determined to stay true to her love of Christ.

Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate

In her first letter to Agnes of Bohemia (a letter which is still rather like one written by a noble woman living a long way away to one of whom she had only recently heard) Clare herself says:

O blessed poverty, who bestows eternal riches on those who love and embrace her!
O holy poverty, God promises the kingdom of heaven and, beyond any doubt,
reveals eternal glory and blessed life to those who have and embrace her!
O God-centered poverty, whom the Lord Jesus Christ, who ruled and still rules heaven and earth,
who spoke and things were made, came down to embrace before all else!

Poverty, which appears to people as a sad state is for Clare a source of blessedness and happiness. Here we are not speaking about a monastic virtue, practiced as an exercise in mortification, but of an existential discovery which far outstrips the bounds of justice. That which appears sad is instead a source of joy, that which appeared weak is instead an option of the Omnipotent Himself. —from Saint Clare: Beyond the Legend


St. Clare,
You are a shining example of how to stay true to who you are.
May we embrace your confidence in order to embrace who we are.

Lent with St. Clare

8 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: Fifth Sunday”

  1. When you honor G-d He – Blessed be His name- takes care of you. St Clare peace we can all have it. Not the peace as the world knows it but the peace of G-d. Catholics lets us stay under G-ds shield . One body serving G-d.
    G-d Bless.

  2. Indeed, suffering is the pathway to peace, but life brings enough suffering on its own without inflicting it on ourselves. A child wearing a hair shirt sounds more like harsh punitive justice, suggested by parents, in an effort to force good behavior through shame. In my experience this tactic usually brings short term obedience, but with it comes all kinds of unsavory psychological damage. Like anxiety, anger, self hatred, addiction, God complexes, scrupulousity. It leaves us wide open to beginning manipulated by fear based leaders and cults.
    I have found a much freer, more loving God, and peace in my soul by seeking the loving spirit of God in me. My true Self, the Holy Spirit. By seeing myself as an adopted son of God who loves me unconditionally. It’s harder work than shaming myself, but the fruits are superior in every way.
    It’s time for organized religion to dismantle the shame based, punitive justice structures that have been built in for hundreds of years, let go of control, and truly free its people. Show them the way to the love that’s built in and then get out of thre way and let the Holy Spirit take over.

  3. Now I understand how St. Clare so easily wore the hair shirt and fasted as an adult, she began so young that it was 2nd nature. She couldn’t be obedient to St. Francis because she was done being obedient to man. Unfortunately , she couldn’t hear and see Gods face in the her mentor ,begging her to listen to His voice. Prayers for St. Clare ,she may be a saint who needs prayers too. Purgatory has spaces set aside for religious souls too. I will offer up a Divine Mercy chaplet for her tonight.

  4. Florentino Pangan Jr

    Poverty is shunned by our modern world. Other nations have enriched themselves only to crave for more power by invading other lands and destroying human lives. The poverty that St. Clare and St. Francis have chosen is a poverty to love and live on earth with complete dependence on the abiding generosity of God. True enough God’s wonderful and mysterious love is greater than worldly power. This love of God raise the experience of poverty as the door to the kingdom of God which is a kingdom of peace, justice and love.

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