“For within a short time the reputation of the holiness of the virgin Clare had spread through the neighboring areas.” —The Legend of St. Clare
Sometimes it can be hard to be the first to do something. We hold back for any number of reasons. We might be afraid of making a mistake or of being ridiculed. After the first person takes the leap, though, we become more comfortable joining in. But what if that first person hadn’t found the strength to put things into motion? Clare was that first person. She was brave enough to take the first step so that other women could follow.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
In Assisi, the knowledge that Clare was rejecting marriage proposals and that she seemed bent on a religious path was becoming a matter of public speculation. We do not know when the first encounter between Clare and Francis took place. Since her home stood beside the Cathedral of San Rufino, she could have heard him preach there. His frequent preaching appointments inside the city walls stirred a universal interest.
The friars were never far away physically. And we can well imagine that they were never far from conversation—whether of argument or admiration. After all, among the earliest to enlist (in addition to Rufino) were Bernard of Quintavalle, an attorney, and Sylvester, a priest of the diocese. Clare breathed the very air that was filled with the new evangelical energy of St. Francis.
For his part, Francis clearly knew Clare’s reputation, the beautiful woman who was irritating the Offreducio patriarchs with her delaying tactics during courtship. The reputation of her saintly mother and of this exceptionally pious daughter would not have been a secret to a native of Assisi. Could she be the answer to his prayers about how to answer the women who wanted to participate in this new movement of Gospel living? —from Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare
Thank you for your courage in stepping
ahead and forging a path for others so
that they could also share in the joy you were seeking.
3 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: Third Tuesday”
Sr. Margaret gives so much in her reflection of St. Clare’ s Life that this video was best watched 2 or 3 times!
My view may be influenced today by a talk I viewed last night on Divine Mercy . org by Father Chris Alar.
The topic was Marriage , Divorce , and Annulments, I was viewing to help a friend and another family member find answers to a troubled marriage and the other to help them understand applying for a Decree of Nullity . However; so much of that talk seemed to pave the way for understanding what was written in reflection today and what Sr. Margaret seemed to state in her presentation.
I think St. Clare was not opposed to marriage, for she wholeheartedly entered into creating this way of life for women and always reached out to the Franciscans in communication, prayer, council. and more than we probably know. Like Sr. Margaret said there are no Frescos of St. Clare’s life like that of Francis and the The Franciscan Friars lives, but even when he had passed on Clare continued relationship with the other brothers who were very different in style and perhaps not so attune with Clare. The thing is her life long commitment and her submission to the ways of the order and the hierarchy . The definition I learned last night for submission isn’t quite the same as the worlds. I was surprised to learn in marriage the term indicates the woman is to submit and support the mission of her husband. A way to think of this is referencing St. Joseph , who had the mission of protecting the Blessed Virgin Mary and raising up the Son of God from infancy to being an adult. It was St. Joseph who led Mary on the journey to Nazareth, it was Joseph who taught Jesus the trade of being a Carpenter, it was Joseph who heard God speak to him in the dreams, being obedient and saying yes to accepting Mary ,already with child into his home instead of divorcing her quietly. St. Joseph had the greatest faith in his Mission sent from God the Father. In that respect St. Joseph was the head of household,the leader for the family; but he was still working in union with God the Father and under Gods Mission to give His only Son to the World and eventually Jesus who gave his life for our sins , was also being submissive to the Will of the Father. Jesus accepting the role of Bridegroom for the Church, the Bride.
After hearing that(and more) last night I was able to see St. Clare’s visionary way of life/thinking as being a Subject under the Mission of Gods Will. I do not believe St. Clare rejected/objected to marriage . I believe she was creating a way, in union with the will of God , to show/live a Josephite marriage in this life. The Josephite marriage I learned from Fr. Chris Alar’s talk is when 2 people publicly declare vows to one another in marriage that will be a chaste and holy marriage(hopefully I did write that correctly as I do not have notes in front of me). The marriage term stems from the marriage of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph each vowing to live a chaste life and give themselves to God(St. Joseph may have been married previously and when the marriage ended ,perhaps because his wife passed away he vowed celibacy). Mary was betrothed at age 3 ,but later pledged her life to God and took the vow of chastity willingly. When the suitors arrived all present were able to discern it was Joseph by the staff in his hand which bloomed with lillies. Joseph was obedient in arriving that day because all men meeting the requirements for the betrothal were to present themselves. Even though Joseph had made a vow to God to remain living a chaste life he was obedient to the law . The tradition states that the suitor would be known for Mary because the staff would bloom with lillies ,and that was St. Joseph’s staff! God respected Mary and Josephs vows and the rest is HIStory ,so to speak .
That is why I believe St. Clare was led/inspired to her call. She is living a Josephite marriage in her order ,and her Mission is submitting to God ,the Church, and the brothers. How beautiful a life she lived! We are blessed by her commitment to this marriage union🙏🕯⛪
Excellent analysis and explanation 👏 👍 Thanks so much for sharing this information with us. It helps me to understand Mary and Joseph better. Especially like the part about his staff blooming lilies, the flower of the Resurrection.
Amen 🙏 🙏 🙏
Yes, that was something I just learned this lent too, Father Chris Alar at DivineMercy.org has really taught those who participate so much, he often says that he is taking us back to seminary with him.
These Lenten programs from Franciscan Media and Divine Mercy have been so valuable in learning more about our wonderful Catholic Faith.