Saturday, 10 August 2013

Clare: A Heart Free For the Lord

St Clare, whose feast we celebrate on 11 August, was a woman who responded to Christ's call and grace with magnificent courage.

Christ, poor and crucified, captured her heart. Thereafter her one desire was that she be utterly his.

She sought to allow grace form in her a heart turned fully toward the Lord, and she taught her sisters to walk the same path of absolute surrender to Christ.

The external poverty and simplicity of the life she embraced was the sacrament, the outward sign of an interior disposition - a heart utterly free for the Lord!

This passage, from her First Letter to St Agnes of Prague, reveals a woman who knew the treasure that was hers in Christ, a brave woman willing to jettison all that would hinder the deep work of his redeeming love.
Be strengthened in the holy service you have undertaken
out of an ardent desire for the Poor Crucified,
who for the sake of all of us 
took upon Himself the Passion of the Cross.

O blessed poverty,
who bestows eternal riches on those
who love and embrace her!

O holy poverty,
to those who possess and desire you
God promises the kingdom of heaven
and offers, indeed, eternal glory and blessed life!

O God-centered poverty,
whom the Lord Jesus Christ
who ruled and now rules heaven and earth,
who spoke and things were made,
condescended to embrace before all else!

What a great laudable exchange:
to leave the things of time for those of eternity,
to choose the things of heaven for the goods of earth,
to receive the hundred-fold in place of one,
and to possess a blessed and eternal life.