“Because the way and path is difficult and the gate through which one passes and enters to life is narrow, there are both few who walk it and enter through it.” —The Testament of St. Clare
At this point in our Lenten journey, we may be growing weary of the promises we made at the beginning of the season. In those moments, we must remember St. Clare’s determination. Throughout her life, she pushed forward despite the obstacles placed in her way. She fought until her dying day to establish a rule for her sisters. It was only upon having her rule finally approved that she allowed herself to rest in Jesus. With her example before us, surely, we can forge ahead to the celebration of Easter.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
The path to God through contemplative vision for Clare takes seriously the outrageous love of God visible in the scandal of the cross. What we in our own time consider absurd—fragility, weakness, suffering and death—Clare, like many women mystics of her time, understood as the ensured path into divine love. The key to uncovering this love hidden in the field of the human heart is contemplation.
For Clare, as for Francis, contemplation means looking upon the Earth while seeing the things of heaven.23 It means seeing things for what they truly are, even in their weakness and brokenness, and not what we project onto them or want them to be. Her path of contemplation impels us to ask: What do we see as we travel the Earth? What are we looking for when we go about in the world?
Clare reminds us that contemplation is the vision of a heart centered in Christ. Unless we can see God concealed in the fragility of our created world and love the God we see, our blindness remains, and the world persists in darkness. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus we foolishly ask, “Have you not heard? Did you not see?” Never realizing all the while that Christ is in our midst. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love
St. Clare, may we look to you
for inspiration as we move
forward with renewed spirits