Minute Meditations

The Mirror on Eternity

Mirror on the grass | Photo by Inga Gezalian on Unsplash

While there are very few special devotions attributed to her, one is a prayer to the Five Wounds of Jesus. She regularly prayed the Office of the Passion that Francis composed. This liturgical prayer was an elaborate composition that led the praying sister or brother to meditation on Christ’s journey to Calvary. Francis designed this Office and modeled it on the normal hours of the Divine Office, which was required of all of his followers. The Office of the Passion was rooted in the practice of seeing each of the required hours of prayer as parallel to the chronology of the hours of Jesus’s suffering. Thus, the one praying entered into the mind of Jesus, seeking to identify with him as he prayed the psalms during his ultimate humiliation.

The one praying could follow him in spirit from Gethsemane to the Holy Sepulcher. Each hour consisted of a psalm with antiphons and short prayers as a framework. Each psalm came from the biblical psalter, but Francis rearranged the verses to reflect how he imagined Jesus would pray at each of those hours. Thus, the psalms are filled with lament, with expressions of fear, of desire to be spared, to be protected from one’s enemies. At the same time, they proclaim trust in the loving will of the Father, and confidence in ultimate salvation. Clare’s writings often include the metaphor of a mirror. In Francis’s body she beheld a stark mirror of the Passion. She then taught the sisters how clearly they must pattern their lives on that of Jesus. He had to become their Mirror.

—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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