“May the excitements of the world, fleeing like a shadow, not disturb you.”
—Letter to Ermentrude of Bruges
We live in a world that is constantly changing—minute by minute—right before our eyes. We are surrounded by the never-ending cycle of social media, news, streaming services, and a whole host of other “here this minute, gone the next” sources of information and entertainment.
For many of us, our attention spans are greatly diminished. St. Clare reminds us to shift our focus from those momentary distractions to what is truly important.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
How do we center ourselves in the love of God? Clare’s answer is simple and disarming: Become poor. Clare wrote to encourage Agnes to pursue a life of poverty, to become poor enough to embrace the poor Spouse. It is hard to admit in a consumer culture that poverty is the key to the fullness of life. To the secular mind it seems absurd. Western culture is immersed in a capitalism based on the idea that worldly success is a blessing of God.
The type of poverty that Clare and the Franciscans speak of is opposed to the spirit of capitalism and self-sufficiency. It means to be dependent on others. That is exactly what Clare and Francis saw in the mystery of Jesus Christ.
When we allow others to do things for us, God’s goodness shines through them. Poverty is not so much about want or need; it is about relationship. Poverty impels us to reflect on our lives in the world from the position of weakness, dependency, and vulnerability. It impels us to empty our pockets—not of money—but the pockets of our hearts, minds, wills—those places where we store up things for ourselves and isolate ourselves from real relationship with others. Poverty calls us to be vulnerable, open, and receptive to others, to allow others into our lives and to be free enough to enter into the lives of others. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love
St. Clare, may we remember your words
of direction when we are losing our focus
on the things that genuinely matter.
6 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: Second Wednesday”
setting something aside now for some greater goal…..what greater goal can there be than sacrificing to enter the heaven whenever our life here ends. Temptation and living in this world makes it a challenge or sometimes it seems impossible.but all the more necessary to put those blinders on and set aside those things for the greater goal of the Kingdom of God.
Holy Spirit I pray you keep softening my heart toward God so that I can learn how to hear his voice and follow His guidance
Wealth is not evil nor its persuit condemnable. To me to become poor means to be poor in spirit. Trusting in G-d alone.
Wealth /money should be used as a force for doing good in the lives of others. Giving must become a habit of the heart. So that when we are put before G-d to account for our lives we can say yes I did conduct my financial matters with intergrity.
Lazarus is a good example. As such we must remember that it is the Lord who gives us the power to get wealth. Therefore we all have a social responsibility mandated by G -d teaching to feed the poor , cloth the naked etc.
However with wealth we must be carefull not to fall into the temptation of worshipping private property-$$.
G- d Bless.
I like that, what I must remember is that wealth is only worth something here snd now but holds no importance or value in Eternal Life. Amen
Poverty of spirit is a fertile ground for the Lord to show Himself mighty to us in our struggles. Sometimes His “mighty” comes to us in the form of the Helper (Holy Spirit) who simply “stays with us” during a long trial. In those times, and all others – St Clare pray for us 🙏
Wow that is such a great question. How does that make it sacred, holy, set apart? It must have been an an agonising question for those at the foot of the cross to ask. Soldiers must ask this question or anyone who says goodbye too early to a loved one. Such a great question.