“May neither bitterness nor a cloud of sadness overwhelm you.”
—Third Letter to Agnes of Prague
Certainly, it would be a mistake to assume that St. Clare never had days that weighed her down. She did, after all, live a very challenging life. So, if she had felt bitterness or a cloud of sadness, it would have been completely understandable. She found great joy in her relationship with Christ, but given her humanity, she certainly wouldn’t have experienced that continuously.
Knowing that she experienced struggles as we might makes it easier to relate to her.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
It was through the daily cycle of prayer that a kind of “blessed assurance” grew in the Poor Ladies. The rounds of hours of the breviary brought the richness of psalms and Scripture texts into dialogue with their daily tasks. Meditation upon the Byzantine Cross, the adoration of the Eucharist, attending Mass, hearing sermons—all gave new meaning to each day’s trials or triumphs. Weaving prayer and productive work created the balance within their hearts and minds that allowed them to keep moving.
The poor sisters lived filled with consolation, with assurance. They dared to believe that promise of Jesus. They were learning that he was true to his word and their joy was, indeed, full and free. They learned to reverse their own standards of judgment in favor of the riddle that calls one to lose life in order to gain it. That women could live without the safety net of approved monastic vows and ample endowments and follow Christ in such literal fashion was news indeed. And the women themselves were the first to understand that. —from Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare
In times of struggle,
may we seek out the joy in Christ you so fully embraced.
May we find it as comforting and uplifting as you must have.
7 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: Monday of Holy Week”
I have so loved these meditations during Lent I am considering buying the book so that I can continue to have them available. My parish is St. Clare but I never really knew much about her. These meditations have made me feel closer to her. Thank you so much!
Sheri, I feel the same way and ordered the book for the same reason. It is being delivered today and I am truly looking forward to it!
In my country we have a saying – same shit difference ship. We all experience some struggles in life . Be it depression , workplace conflict, family struggles , abuse, divorce, children pressure, anxiety , anger , attachment to material things, doubts etc.
But the Sants has shown us that once our interior focus remain on G-d we will overcome these struggles by better understanding our faith . So far the lives of the Saints is not a perfect picture story. They all had challanged life. Even in the own sanitary . He who is without sin let him cast the first stone. But we must sin no more.
For scripture said – my son if you come forward to serve G-d prepare yourself for temptation.
1. Tempted for wealth / earthly pleasures – man does not live by bread /wealth alone but by every word of G-d.
2. Tempted for glory – honor your G-d alone.
3. Tempted for your faith – Do not tempt your G-d.
Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; an unconquered heart which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.(Prayer of Thomas Aquinas)
I’m imagining there were many saints amongst the women in the order ,the lifestyle they chose came with so much potential to reach sainthood. I know that isn’t the reason these women did take their leap of faith, it was a special calling . I really want to hear more about their lives . I’m also certain that were many hard times as the women went without a safety net for themselves as they forged this new path with St. Clare in Assisi. So many dark nights of the soul must have been braved as St. Clare poetic writes of “clouds of sadness”. From her letters you can’t really capture the hardship of the new way of life. Clare seemed so together, determined, laser focused, that it is hard to see or hear moments of hardship for her, but yet they existed for her and all the other saintly women.
At the beginning of this Lenten Journey I found a prayer card with a Sister’s prayer on the back. The style of writing fails to be similar to the often poetic or romantic way with words St. Clare would have used, but it is written from her perspective . This prayer card was heaven sent for I never seen it before anywhere in our home ,nor if my grandpa’s possessions. That being said I think of it as a sign that we are all meant to pray for one another,especially our religious. So every night I say the prayer now, and feel compelled to continue to do so.
I made attempts to attach the prayer here, but for some reason it is giving me great difficulty tonight.I have done it before and set it to friends, but no luck with it atall tonight.
I find that the following daily prayer gives me strength and brings me closer to our Lord: “May the most adorable face of Jesus my only love give me hope and strength and may I live with Thee, of Thee, by Thee and for Thee until I am with Thee in Heaven” Ellen
Saint Clara carried her own cross; but her cross was lighter because Christ’s love gave her the strength and inner joy to bear its weight.