“Let us pray to God for one another, for by carrying each other’s burden of charity in this way we will easily fulfill the law of Christ.” —Letter to Ermentrude of Bruges
When Clare saw Francis preaching in the town square, certainly she was aware of people’s reactions to him. It would have been difficult not to have heard about Pietro Bernardone’s son who had renounced his family and embraced poverty. But something about Francis and his words captured her spirit. In him, she saw not a rebel but a man whose heart had been captured by God. She longed to join him in his calling to serve others. Would we be willing to take such a leap of faith for our convictions?
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
Transformation in Christ is central to a eucharistic life for Clare, and the renewal of Christ in one’s life is the basis of the church which is the Body of Christ. In Clare’s view, the Body of Christ grows when its members are active lovers, not passive listeners. Church membership is not an affiliation but a participation in the life of Christ. Those who are strengthened by grace must help the weaker members of the body so that it may grow towards its fullness in God. Clare indicates that only one who is on the path to God, who contemplates God and is transformed in God is truly a member of the church.
Indeed, if one views her spiritual path from poverty to transformation one would have to say that the church is built on poverty, humility, and love. When we fail in poverty, we fail in love, and when we fail in love the Body of Christ is weakened, the church is diminished.
The return to poverty is at the heart of church renewal because it is a return to a eucharistic life, to the Eucharist as life and sacrament of God’s presence in the world. Although Clare did not use the language of Eucharist or sacrament in her writings, her spirituality is centered on the idea that when the Body of Christ becomes the body of the believer, the body of the believer becomes the life of the church. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love
May we be open to the possibilities and challenges we may encounter.
Help us be as courageous as you were.