The Feminie Genius: "Living after the manner of the Holy Gospel"

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Clare (1194-1253), perhaps best known as friend and follower of Francis of Assisi. Like Francis, she was raised near Assisi in a noble family, unlike Francis, who was not so much interested in the things of  God as a young man, Clare was known to be prayerful and pious as a young girl. It then doesn’t come as a surprise that she would be attracted to Francis and inspired by his preaching. In fact, it is said, that when she first met Francis her request of him was to help her” live after the manner of the Holy Gospel.”

A Living Charism

Clare chose the monastic life and founded the community known as the Poor Clares who to this day live in community, practice perpetual adoration and serve the needs of the poor. If you live near D.C. you can share a taste of the charism by visiting the Poor Clare chapel in Brookland at 3900 13th St., NE.

Clare leaves us a rich collection of prayer and reflection in the form of letters she wrote in a capacity of spiritual director. To a woman called Agnes of Prague, she writes “I see that you are embracing with humility, the virtue of faith…I consider you someone who is God’s own helper and who supports the drooping limbs of his ineffable body.”  What  a powerful image of what it means to be a disciple, to support the arms of our Lord as he gives himself for us on the cross.  To Agnes, Clare offers this advice to remain a steadfast and steady co-worker of the Lord:

“Place your mind in the mirror of eternity; Place your soul in the splendor of glory; Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance; And through contemplation, transform your entire being into the image of the Divine One himself, So that you, yourself may also experience what his friends experience when they taste the hidden sweetness that God alone has kept from the beginning for those who love him. “

Wisdom for the Ages

One way I like the keep the feasts is to read something written by the person being celebrated. Always, it seems that I find something that makes sense for me today. Sometimes, like this excerpt, the language is just enough different that I have to read carefully and ponder more seriously.

Standing the test of time

I’m sure you read Msgr. Pope’s blog about Anne Rice’s declaration of separating herself from organized Christianity . I found her reasons for leaving rather curious given that the church has not changed its teaching on the issues from the time when she belonged as a child nor when she returned as an adult, it seems that she wants not faith on God’s terms, the giver of the gift but rather faith on the terms she dictates. Let’s see how that works out for her.  I have one question to ask. 756 years later, the writings of Clare inspire and delighte me on this day, August 11, 2010. Will somone be picking up any of Anne Rice’s work in the year 2766 and be delighted and inspired?