Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Clare: Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Cross with a purple ribbon

“What you hold may you always hold. What you do, may you always do and never abandon.”
—St. Clare

When Clare left her home, she was completely alone. For a brief time, she met with Francis and his brothers and then took refuge with a community of religious sisters. In essence, however, she was charting her own path. Her desire was to live out her faith in a new way—a life that embraced poverty and prayer.

Eventually she would be joined by her sister, Catherine, soon to be known as Agnes, and other women. For each of us, even though we are part of the greater faith community, our faith journey is an individual one. Like Clare, we must decide how to live our faith.

Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate

Clare of Assisi’s description of “God-centered” poverty is written with conviction and assurance, as if Clare had a glimmer of that glory which the human eye cannot see, especially embodied in the strange figure of the cross. From where did her assurance come? The simplest answer is faith, as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews writes: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). How does one come to this deep level of faith?

Spending time with God. One can only surmise that Clare spent many hours dwelling on the mystery of God, ruminating on the mystery within her and striving to live in the mystery, as she went about her daily life. Having surrendered wealth, nobility, and aristocracy—a life of comfort and leisure—it is likely that Clare, like Agnes, would not settle for anything less than a life totally dedicated to God.

The cross convinced her that God has totally given himself to us; thus, it is only reasonable that we should give ourselves totally to God. For Clare, there seems to be nothing in between—neither mediocrity nor compromised self-gift. The God who has given himself to us in the poverty of the cross is the God who claims us as his own. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love


St. Clare,
When we are feeling alone,
may we remember that in you we have
a constant companion.
In your story, we can find hope.


14 thoughts on “Lent with St. Clare: Thursday after Ash Wednesday”

  1. Beautiful reflection on St. Clare as a quiet revolutionary! I would only add that her choice of poverty–complete reliance on work to sustain daily life–was a visible and spiritual way to show complete trust in God.

  2. Hearing what Sister Margaret Carney has to say about St. Claire is interesting and makes St. Claire sound like a very independent woman. But I think St. Claire must have been much influenced by St. Francis and his love. We all learn about love from others we meet or know first, whether it is merely from our parents or the saints we have encountered in our respective lives. Only then do we look at or learn about the origin of that love and its source, namely God. But I think that’s the way God wants us to learn about love, through others first. Of course, only God’s love is perfect.

  3. I’m pleased this reflection is shared at the beginning of Lent. It gives me a definite focus, a sense of personal direction to strive to imitate Clare. I pray I won’t get discouraged with making only small steps in response to the invitation.

  4. St Clare had the trust in God that He would provide all that she needed. I pray to continue to have that trust that I might not have all that I want but that He will provide all that I need.

  5. “What you hold may you always hold. What you do, may you always do and never abandon.”
    —St. Clare

    In faith and in her acts of Corporal & Spiritual works of Mercy this quote from St. Clare of Assisi can become a prayer from the depths of heart ! We can be inspired and motivated by repeating these words in meditation daily. In a quiet space seek the intercession of St. Clare of Assisi in your life .Beg her to share her faith and resiliency,her vision for a life that has a clear ordered purpose uplifting our intentions to become conduits mirroring Gods enlightened foresight for our lives and accomplishing works of charity for the good of all humanity????????????

    Often times we seek mentors in our lives and admire those individuals who emit sparks of a life burning with intense purpose! Sometimes those role models are sports figures we idolize , a corporate mogul so successful that person rose to the top of their field in a short time, or perhaps we admire an actor or actress in their field for their ability to transform their character or role in a movie or play. We become awestruck and enamored by their lives . We place photos or posters of them in our homes, buy calendars with their images and quotes at the start of the new year, sometimes even collect figurines made in the image and likeness of their character. We do not even consider it to be out of the ordinary …..
    Now we have discovered in St. Clare of Assisi(and other saints or the Holy Family) a soul truly worth of emulating to become our mentor. What if we read more about her life, place her image near her quote or acquired a small figurine of St. Clare of Assisi and placed in on a shelf, atop a dresser, or next to a lamp near the area where we meditate upon her inspiring words ,would that be out of the ordinary? It is whom we chose to follow in this life that we become. Our friends,our role models, our mentors they are the people we chose because we admire them (although some family members are people we would choose too!)and they are the ones we often emulate. But now we are enlightened by great souls who became saints , like Clare of Assisi and we can choose to actively pursue her as a mentor. We can create a vision board, a collectors corner, or meditation station in our quiet space to share time with her and learn more from her.

    Sites like holy art or etsy have fine works of art created by artisans who depend on the sale of these images or small statues as their career choice. Especially buying from Etsy ,as they have a wide variety of religious items for purchase .Just imagine supporting those people in need when you create your new meditation space, a little way to share in St. Clares mission. For instance Artisans can be searched by country of origin(such as Ukraine,yes it Etsy supports the artists in shipping these goods so they arrive in good time and perfect condition) allowing you support the livelihood of those in need with your purchase of your religious icon or statue. Have your priest bless this when its received and remember to pray for the soul who created it and lives in a country in turmoil. In this way you can begin your own Quiet Revolution during lent while blessing another persons life. Perhaps this would be a charitable act this lent inspired by St. Clare of Assisi’s life.????????????

  6. Let StClair and All the Saints be that light that shows us the way to honor and fear G-d. That light that leads us the the Holy Spirit. G – d Bless.

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