Minute Meditations

Gaze upon the Living Christ

San Damiano cross

When Clare entered San Damiano, she came into possession of the beautiful Byzantine cross before which Francis had prayed. Now it was her “book” of prayer, her silent reminder each day: “Take up your cross and follow me.” In that Face, she saw mirrored the love that would insist that one who lays down a life is the greatest of Friends and the model of all Christian friendship. The story of redemption portrayed on the Cross helped her to anchor her soul in that mystery. One speaks of “reading” an icon. What did Clare read in that Cross? She found the images of those who accompanied Jesus to Calvary, the angels mourning the outrage they witness, the centurion piercing that beloved Heart with his lance. There, too, she would see the image of Christ ascending back to the heavenly firmament—his Father’s hand outstretched to welcome him after his quest to save humanity was completed. Most of all, she would spend hours contemplating that Face. The expression is one of serene and salvific love. The body is not writhing in agony, but is glorified, having conquered death’s destructive force. In the annual Easter liturgies, she would hear the chanted refrain: “I have risen and am with you.” Through this Cross that beautiful melody was manifested every day of her life.

—from the book Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare
by Margaret Carney, OSF

Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare Minute Meditations


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