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