“May neither bitterness nor a cloud of sadness overwhelm you.”
—Third Letter to Agnes of Prague
Certainly, it would be a mistake to assume that St. Clare never had days that weighed her down. She did, after all, live a very challenging life. So, if she had felt bitterness or a cloud of sadness, it would have been completely understandable. She found great joy in her relationship with Christ, but given her humanity, she certainly wouldn’t have experienced that continuously.
Knowing that she experienced struggles as we might makes it easier to relate to her.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
It was through the daily cycle of prayer that a kind of “blessed assurance” grew in the Poor Ladies. The rounds of hours of the breviary brought the richness of psalms and Scripture texts into dialogue with their daily tasks. Meditation upon the Byzantine Cross, the adoration of the Eucharist, attending Mass, hearing sermons—all gave new meaning to each day’s trials or triumphs. Weaving prayer and productive work created the balance within their hearts and minds that allowed them to keep moving.
The poor sisters lived filled with consolation, with assurance. They dared to believe that promise of Jesus. They were learning that he was true to his word and their joy was, indeed, full and free. They learned to reverse their own standards of judgment in favor of the riddle that calls one to lose life in order to gain it. That women could live without the safety net of approved monastic vows and ample endowments and follow Christ in such literal fashion was news indeed. And the women themselves were the first to understand that. —from Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare
In times of struggle,
may we seek out the joy in Christ you so fully embraced.
May we find it as comforting and uplifting as you must have.