“What you hold may you always hold. What you do, may you always do and never abandon.”
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
When we are feeling alone,
may we remember that in you we have
a constant companion.
In your story, we can find hope.