“God will be your helper and best consoler.”
—Letter to Ermentrude of Bruges
All too often, we see God as a distant figure. When we do that, though, we fail to see the many ways that God is working in our lives. Perhaps God is present in a friend or family member who is helping or consoling us. God works through each of us, as he did St. Clare. When we begin to see God as closer and more involved, it changes our perception and reminds us that God is always with us.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
For Clare, the cross is where we come to know God and ourselves in God. A life of poverty and humility, following the example of the crucified Christ, can lead us, like Agnes, to take hold of the treasure within the human heart, which is the Word of God, in whom we are created. If the mirror of the cross helps us see the image of Christ reflected more and more in our own lives, then we must begin to consider how we are becoming like Christ in mind, soul, and body. We may begin on the level of actions and behaviors, but we also must begin to consider the deeper aspects of who we are, what lies in our hearts, what occupies our minds, what inflames our souls’ desires.
That is why the gaze is self-reflective because the image we see in the crucified Christ is the image of our creation, and in this image is the basis of our identity. Contemplation is creative since it transforms the one who gazes in the mirror into a reflection of the image itself. The more we contemplate Christ, the more we discover and come to resemble the image of God.
This image of God, brought to light in the one who gazes into the mirror of Christ, is expressed as a new “birth” of Christ in the believer. What do we mean by this “birth” of Christ? As we are drawn more deeply into relationship with God and ourselves in and through the mirror of the cross, we are asked to consider our lives in this world, whether or not we truly reflect Christ. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love
Thank you for the reminder that God is always present to us.
May we see him in those around us and realize he is never far away.