August 10

 

Reflection

Tomorrow is the feast of St.Clare of Assisi.  Clare was so devoted and dedicated to Francis and his spirituality that she is often referred to as “alter Franciscus,” another Francis.

Clare of Assisi was born as Chiara Offreduccio, the beautiful eldest daughter of Favorino Sciffi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana. At 18-years-old, she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach during a Lenten service in the church of San Giorgio and asked him to help her live according to the Gospel. On Palm Sunday in 1212, Clare secretly left her father’s home and went to the chapel of the Porziuncula to meet with Francis. While there, Clare’s hair was cut off and she was given a plain robe and veil in exchange for her rich gown.

Under Francis’ orders, Clare joined the convent of the Benedictine nuns of San Paulo. When her father found her and attempted to force her back into his home, she refused and professed that she would have no other spouse than Jesus Christ. Clare’s sister Catarina joined her. The two remained there until a dwelling was built for them next to the church of San Damiano.

Other women joined them and they became known as the “Poor Ladies of San Damiano.” They all lived a simple life of austerity, seclusion from the world, and poverty, according to a Rule which Francis gave them as a Second Order.

For a brief period of time, the order was directed by St. Francis but in 1216, Clare became the abbess of San Damiano. While serving as the leader of her order, Clare defended them from the attempts of prelates to impose a rule on them that more closely followed the Rule of Saint Benedict than that of Francis.

On August 9, 1253, Pope Innocent IV declared Clare’s rule would serve as the governing rule for Clare’s Order of Poor Ladies. Two days later, Clare died at 59-years of age.  At Pope Innocent’s request, the canonization process for Clare began immediately, and two years later in 1255, Pope Alexander IV canonized Clare as Saint Clare of Assisi. Ten years after Clare’s death, the order became known as the Order of Saint Clare. St. Clare’s feast day is celebrated on August 11.

Prayer

May I have the courage to live the gospel.

Action

Francis and Clare are two of the most well known of the saints. They tried to live the gospel literally. Although we are not expected to live with such radical simplicity, to what are we called in our time as believers in Jesus’ words? What specifically applies to you?

Suggested Reading

We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God’s compassionate love for others.”
St. Clare of Assisi

Totally love Him who gave Himself totally out of love for you.
St. Clare of Assisi

Our labor here is brief, but the reward is eternal. Do not be disturbed by the clamor of the world, which passes like a shadow. Do not let false delights of a deceptive world deceive you.
St. Clare of Assisi

Never forget that the way which leads to heaven is narrow; that the gate leading to life is narrow and low; that there are but few who find it and enter by it; and if there be some who go in and tread the narrow path for some time, there are but very few who persevere therein.”
St. Clare of Assisi

Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.
St. Clare of Assisi

Love God, serve God; everything is in that.
St. Clare of Assisi

Our body is not made of iron. Our strength is not that of stone. Live and hope in the Lord, and let your service be according to reason.
St. Clare of Assisiur

Loving one another with the charity of Christ, let the love you have in your hearts be shown outwardly in your deeds so that compelled by such an example, the sisters may also grow in the love of God and charity for one another.
St. Clare of Assisi

 

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