“This venerable Abbess loved not only the souls of her sisters, she also took care of their little bodies with wonderful zeal of charity.” —The Legend of St. Clare
Throughout her life, Clare demonstrated great compassion for others. Nowhere was this more evident than in the care of her sisters. There are accounts of her encouraging sisters who were struggling with the challenges of their order to have grace with themselves. She sat with those who suffered from depression and consoled those who shed tears. Hers was a ministry of presence and service.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
Clare’s incarnational spirituality is radical. It is not a “consumer spirituality” for curious seekers nor is it a spirituality for the ambivalent or weak of heart. It is a spirituality of participation in the mystical Body of Christ. It is for those who want to make a personal difference in the world through personal transformation. Transformation means change.
Clare calls Agnes to real change, and we might say, she calls us to change as well. Are we willing to change? What are we willing to change? Where we live or what we do for a living? Clare calls us to the root of change, to “possess” poverty as created human beings, to claim our dependency on God and our neighbor in whom God lives, to live as poor persons in relation to the poor Christ whose poverty is the wealth of love. She challenges our desires by directing them away from material things to the one thing necessary, contemplative union with God. In her own way she offers a caveat to what we desire.
If we desire happiness, the reign of God, peace, and justice, or if we desire that the life of Christ be the life of the world, then we must be prepared to realize these desires in our own lives. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love
May we be present, as you were,
to those in need of comfort or guidance.
Help us be attentive to where we are needed.
5 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: Fourth Saturday”
My challenge is daily focus.
The Bible tell us the two great commandments-
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Hence the greater ones love is for G-d the greater once can forgive others.
Dorothy Day saw her mission as within the mystical body of Christ, like Clare; Unlike Clare, Dorothy was worldly, involved herself in politics at times and got messy with the world. She immersed herself in this mystical body, I find her mystical understanding the modern equivalent of Clare’s example. By Dorothy’s time, the role of women in the mystical body of Christ had changed (metastasized in our broken world.) Clare’s example is our frame of reference, Dorothy’s example is how we carry on in this changing world.
I love how you have translated how creating a loving world changes over time. Your analogy of Clare and Dorothy is insightful.
Clare calls Agnes to real change, and we might say, she calls us to change as well. Are we willing to change? What are we willing to change? Where we live or what we do for a living? Clare calls us to the root of change, to “possess” poverty as created human beings, to claim our dependency on God ……
St. Clare gives such contrast in her lifetime,she does call Agnes and her sisters to real change and the results when the sister’s confront the change often overwhelm their spirits. It feels much like where I am in my own journey. I am very aware that I’m at a crossroads and must go through it, while at the same time facing the thought of giving up on the past life in order to move forward. The questions above were able to lead Agnes and the sister’s to answers ,hopefully they can do the same for us as the laity of the church . Some will embrace change more readily and with certainty ,like St. Clare. Over the course of this program we see St. Clare proceed against all odds and move forward with certainty. I so admire that aspect of her journey, of her personality. I desire to be more like her. However; I identify with the other sisters, who struggle having grace with themselves or shed tears along the way. I spoke to the priest about this ,who said it is a normal part of the process , its ok to pause for those moments because a life wasn’t built up overnight and life will not change overnight easily for most people. If we are to move forward we have to deal with those topics that create the emotional unrest in us.
Then I consider the aspect of St. Clare’s life where her mentor makes requests of her, even pleads with her to change some of her ways. St. Francis , and the other brothers begged St. Clare to cease the fasting and ease up on the mortifications to preserve her life. St. Clare couldn’t do it or wouldn’t do it. Was St. Clare able to be obedient to God speaking to her through St. Francis and the brothers? How poorly St. Clare treated herself …not with the kindness and understanding she offered her sister’s. If St. Clare could have changed that ,opened her heart, listened to the message with an open mind would she have been so sick, would she have left her sister’s and the order behind so soon? Perhaps the Order and her sister’s could have flourished more if St. Clare didn’t leave this earth so young. I know we live to an older age today than in St. Clare’s day, and even my great grandparent were only with us until late 50’s and mid 60’s . The only ones were only late 60’s and early 70’s ; but every year they were present on this earth they were able to pass on more to the next generation through accounts of tradition plus through their life as a role model to their children and grandchildren. In St. Clare’s situation she seemed to move forward so quickly she didn’t recognize God speaking to her through the heart of the brothers (and maybe the sister’s too). Maybe St. Clare missed the encouragement and support others were offering and missed hearing God speaking to her heart. …..
So tonight I am trying to see both sides and imitate the best of it so I can be obedient to God and move forward toward the new type of life He would like me to have, in spite of the limitations of this “new” body /mind I now possess .Prayers for and to St. Clare go upward this evening????????