August 11: ST. CLARE OF ASSISI.
Founder of the Poor Clares
St. Clare (1193-1253) followed the footsteps of her brother, St. Francis of Assisi, especially in the way St. Francis lived the virtue of poverty; she was remarkable for her penitent life. She founded the Order of the Poor Clares.
“Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who became the Foundress of an order of nuns now called “Poor Clares.” When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, her heart burned with a great desire to imitate Francis and to live a poor humble life for Jesus. So one evening, she ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown habit to wear, tied with a plain cord around her waist. Her parents tried in every way to make her return home, but Clare would not.
Soon her sister, St. Agnes joined her, as well as other young women who wanted to be brides of Jesus, and live without any money. St. Clare and her sisters wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time. Yet they were very happy, because Our Lord was close to them all the time. Once, He saved them from a great danger in answer to St. Clare’s prayer. An army of rough soldiers came to attack Assisi and they planned to raid the convent first. Although very sick, St. Clare had herself carried to the wall and right there, where the enemies could see it, she had the Blessed Sacrament placed. Then on her knees, she begged God to save the Sisters.
‘O Lord, protect these Sisters whom I cannot protect now,’ she prayed. A voice seemed to answer: ‘I will keep them always in My care.’ At the same time a sudden fright struck the attackers and they fled as fast as they could. St. Clare was sick and suffered great pains for many years, but she said that no pain could trouble her. So great was her joy in serving the Lord that she once exclaimed: ‘They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly called poor?’ We should remember this miracle of the Blessed Sacrament when in Church. Then we will pray with great Faith to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist: ‘Save me, O Lord, from every evil – of soul and body.’”
Dear friends, through the intercession of St. Clare, let us ask God for the holiness and perseverance of all the consecrated women in the Church and for vocations to the consecrated life.
Let us also ask God to help all of us, including the laity, to live the virtues of poverty and detachment, living them according to the particular vocation to which God has called us, for as Our Lord said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:3).”
Without the virtues of poverty and detachment, we are enslaved by the worldly material goods, converting them into ends, instead of being means to live a decent life according to our state in life and for love of God and of others.
Without these virtues, intimacy with God, interior life, holiness would not be possible because the space of our heart which is only meant for God and for others is entirely filled with our love for comfort, material things, worldly pleasures and ambitions, in the end, with our disordered self-love.Let us ask ourselves: which place does God occupy in the hierarchy of our priorities,? “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Lk 12:34).”
May no other attachment bind you to earth than the divine desire of giving glory to Christ and, through him and with him and in him, to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
St. Josemaria, The Way, n. 786
PROFILE SOURCE: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=215