Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Clare: Holy Saturday

Cross and a crown of thorns

“The Lady Clare, a native of the city of Assisi, a stone precious and strong above all the others of the pile, was the foundation.” —Thomas of Celano, First Life of Francis

A strong cornerstone is the key to any foundation. Only upon that can one begin to build. Otherwise, the rest of the structure is weak. St. Francis probably knew this as he worked to rebuild the church of San Damiano. Without a good base, whether in a family, faith life, or community, there is no stability. St. Clare provided this foundation for the sisters and for others who sought her wisdom.

Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate

For Clare, poverty is the foundation of life in God because poverty begins with God. To identify poverty in relationship to God is to quickly dispel the notion of poverty as merely material want or need. Clare realized that the accumulation of material things can stand in the way of God, and she sought to dispossess herself of things. However, the God-centered poverty that she highlights is more than material dispossession.

Poverty touches upon the very basis of existence itself, the gift of God given to us in the person of Jesus Christ. The poverty of God according to Clare is identified with the Incarnation, and because the Incarnation is the person of Jesus Christ, we can claim that the poverty of God is expressed vis-à-vis the human person. In her first letter to Agnes, Clare puts forth the tremendous mystery of the human person both as rich and poor, a mystery which she will expound in her subsequent letters. The mystery can be stated in this way: We are rich in our poverty, but we must possess poverty to know our wealth in God.

Clare does not see the meaning of poverty as living in deprivation but living fulfilled in God. Her understanding of poverty is paradoxical. To embrace poverty is to be endowed with riches; to possess and desire poverty is to receive God’s promise of the kingdom of heaven. The poor person is not the one in need of material things but the one in need of God and the one who needs God possesses God and to possess God is to possess all. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love


St. Clare,
Thank you for your strength.
As we reflect on the large stone that sits in front of Christ’s tomb,
let us reflect on the fact that just one stone is needed as the base
upon which many others can rest.

lent with saint clare

9 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: Holy Saturday”

  1. Mike Reininger

    Trusting in God is so very important, isn’t it? Some people are so rich materially, that they think they no longer need God. Imagine that? But what are they going to do when our society collapses? Where will their trust in themselves be then? One thing is for sure, death is the great equalizer. In the meantime, live well, whether one writes down their life story for others to read or not. Or as Thomas Carlyle once said, “A well-written life, is almost as rare as a well-spent one.”

  2. Thank you for these enlightening Lenten reflections with St. Clare. I particularly found the reflections on her determination to be true to the unique dynamics of her vocation, and those on the meaning of poverty of spirit very inspiring.
    May God bless you and your ministry.

  3. St. Clare , truly has a full understanding and desire to unite herself with the poor in spirit : It means not being attached to a lavish lifestyle and material wealth as the goal of human existence; but even more, it signifies an attitude — a conscious awareness of our need for God. We didn’t create ourselves, nor do we sustain ourselves in being. God does that. that definition from the Arlington Catholic Herald , can be found online along with the remaining article by Father Kenneth Dole.

    God Bless St. Clare and all those who follow in her footsteps or that of St. Francis

  4. These meditations on the words of St. Clare have helped me understand the vocation to the Poor Clare’s of my dear friend who passed away recently. She was a professed Poor Clare for 50 years and we were friends since high school. I see how holy poverty and holy joy were truly the foundation of her vocation.

  5. This is so beautiful. We are truly blessed & privileged to be able to look at poverty in such a way.
    Others are not. Those without food, shelter, safety & the bare necessities are poor in material goods. After the pandemic many more are suffering than before. Let us not forget them.
    The way this is written can be interpreted as dismissive of material poverty & that’s not ok.
    So please let us keep perspective

  6. Magnificent meditations on the life and more importantly the meaning of St. Claire, she was truly the other, better? Half of St. Francis. May we follow Francis and Claire into the Resurrection!

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