Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Clare: Third Friday

Cross and a crown of thorns

“I admonish and exhort all my sisters, both those present and those to come, to strive always to imitate the way of holy simplicity, humility, and poverty.” —The Testament of St. Clare

For many of us, simplicity is something that we desire but struggle to achieve. It’s so easy for us to accumulate worldly goods. We can buy things with the click of a button or a quick swipe of a card. But do we really need those things? Do they bring us true joy? St. Clare didn’t think so, and she encouraged her sisters to come to that realization as well. It is in this simplicity, humility, and poverty that St. Clare found herself most able to be open to Christ. She wanted that joy for others, too.

Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate

The word transformation is not part of our everyday vocabulary, so to understand why it is important to Clare’s spiritual path we need to ask, What does it mean to “transform your being into the image of the Godhead”? The word form refers to a concrete expression of an inner content (or image). Form connotes shape, size, appearance, and other characteristics which express matter or, we might say, inner being.

The way something appears is its form. A cross, for example, may be composed of metal, wood, or iron—that is its content or matter. But it is shaped by two bars perpendicular to each other—that is its form. To transform is to change the appearance or shape of something, from one expression to another. For example, if an iron cross is melted down, it could become a horseshoe. The matter would remain the same (it would still be iron) but the form would change.

When we apply these philosophical categories of “form” and “matter” to the human person, we have something a bit more complex than a horseshoe but the idea that form can change is similar. Clare’s directive to Agnes, to transform her being into the image of the Godhead, is another way of saying “be transformed into the one you love.”

Be changed—not in little ways but in a big way—the way of being a person. Let the life of God be your life. Let the face of God be your face. Become a new incarnation of the Word. Let Jesus Christ live in you. You will not change the genetic makeup of who you are but when the power of God’s grace is at work in you, when love seizes your heart, you will express yourself in a new way, the way of love. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love

Lent with St. Clare


St. Clare,
May your example and instruction
inspire us to strip away what we don’t
need and embrace the blessings of
simplicity, humility, and poverty.


6 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: Third Friday”

  1. Paul Kwame Anaman

    Brothers and Sisters in Christ it’s been interesting to lead a Christ like Life. Yes St Clare is telling us to live a humble , simple and poor Life. I want know how one leads a poor Life? It’s a situation that one doesn’t want to into. I need to be enlightened a bit.
    St Clare Pray for us

    1. Paul, I think to lead a “poor” life means to prefer nothing to God. We are called to use the gifts God has given us for the advancement of humanity. We are all called to serve as Jesus did. If you read
      Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus gives me a great indication of w he at that means. We’re not all called to do all of these. Maybe you have the be skills to advocate for adequate health care for all. Maybe you have the construction skills to help build homes for those who are homeless. These are some ideas. Hope they help. Chris


    I have the same question. It comes to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. All of us need the basics. We cannot spread the Word to others—if they suffer from hunger and have severe health issues—We must alleviate or resolve their basic needs first.

    Same for everyone. Basic needs such as basic housing, food, clean water, access to health care? Is that wealthy living?

    What happens if people are getting evicted from their homes? When they lose their jobs and have no means to sustain themselves? They are worried more about their housing …and their children getting food.

  3. “I admonish and exhort all my sisters, both those present and those to come, to strive always to imitate the way of holy simplicity, humility, and poverty.” —The Testament of St. Clare

    SOOOO important this advice from St. Clare….we have gotten away from Admonishing , or even anything that comes close to the concept. Instructing those who do not understand the Catholic faith, offering apologetics responses because we are not even aware of them ourselves most of the time, counselling the doubtful has fallen by the wayside etc. WE are too fearful of hurting feelings, of the repercussions of our statements going viral or worse of getting maimed or losing our lives and livelihoods for speaking the truths of natural law and tenements of our faith. This is why even the Vatican and the Church are watering down our faith and feeding their flocks as though they were non denominational or a blended form of christianity. We must search out the churches and priests who are willing to give us the truths of God and the One ,Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Word of God from the Bible ; but also from the rich Traditions of our faith that are not in the Bible . Those go hand in hand. And those often are not in your own community and sometimes not within 20 or 30 miles of our community or place of employment.

    Searching out this food, this Manna, this Word of God has grown ever more important as my age advances and I lose those in my life who once added that element of flavor into our watered down faith. I grew up after Vatican II was put into practice. I didn’t notice or maybe just didn’t have to think for myself about the impact of that. When I was child,teen, and young adult those around me infused the bland recipe of our faith or pushed forth to find the proper places for our family to worship. As I grew older and those wonderful people passed onto eternal life I realized I was the one who had to discover how to fix this problem. Once I was on my own and more so when I married my (Good Samaritan) husband ,a Catholic who didn’t have the same upbringing in faith as I did, I realized, not to veer off the path away from God, that I needed to keep searching. It was becoming very evident as we were now church nomads, traveling from parish to parish because our places of employment wouldn’t allow us time away to worship( my husband is a federal employee and I was an eldercare giver and childcare provider so I had to find my own replacement ),so to attend Mass we had to find travel to parishes with times of Masses that accommodated our schedules.

    It was our own “form & matter” that needed to be upheld and improved. In some ways we were now conforming to the world and our crosses were warping. My family and faith community worked diligently to instill what they could in me ,was I willing to become apathetic and become remolded or rebranded? NO. I needed to be “transformed” by the one who loved me first! And I needed to begin first to share that with my husband ,then with those closest to me, and finally with acquaintances . God was giving me opportunities to choose for myself and practice those very concepts; all while receiving the the message that our Catholic faith was being distilled of the purities that it once contained within its beautiful elixir infusing our faith.

    So to do this meant searching other states, other countries ,using the virtual world that I was not comfortable traveling yet(still not). It also meant living in poverty by choice; not because of circumstances. Although both are true in my life. We are enriched by faith. We make a conscious effort to ask ourselves how will owning this item or making this purchase benefit our Catholic faith and can this item be share our faith with others. Ex the place we live ,the building we choose as our home, the car that will transport us. And everyday living … how will another piece of that cake help feed my soul or others? It was amazing to discover how much was want and not need.
    So this Lent being here and able to learn more from St. Clare , has been a great help in “becoming a new incarnation” and allowing God’s Grace to transform me . A special prayer of thanks to James Motschall , an angel now who sent a bit of manna in the form of a prayer card in an unlikely place. I will share that another day though. Thank you again to Franciscan Media for this program during lent to feast upon as we fast from the junk food of this moment.????????

  4. If you have enough money to buy what you want at the grocery store for dinner, you are rich and wealthy by world’ standards. Be thankful. Be generous.

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