“Let the tongue of the flesh be silent when I seek to express my love for you; and let the tongue of the Spirit speak.” —Fourth Letter to Agnes of Prague
We’ve all heard the saying “Actions speak louder than words.” In her letter to Agnes, St. Clare seems to be conveying that very message. We live in a noisy world. Too often we fill silent moments with endless chatter and loud distractions. Yet in silence there can be great peace.
Through silence we discover feelings our words cannot convey, and thoughts hidden in the recesses of our minds. In the silence, we can often find Christ.
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
Clare’s first letter to Agnes is written in 1234, around the time when Agnes decided to embrace her new way of life. As we will see, this letter encapsulates Clare’s understanding of poverty as she sees it rooted in God. This letter of spiritual depth would set the stage for Clare’s guidance of Agnes, even though they would never meet.
Clare wrote to Agnes again in 1235 with an emphasis on contemplation of the poor crucified Christ. This theme is repeated and expanded in her next letter of 1238 in which Clare draws connections between contemplation, transformation, and participation in the Body of Christ.
The final letter is written fifteen years later in 1253, shortly before Clare’s death. Here, at the end of her life, she reveals her deep love for Agnes, addressing the letter, “To her who is half of her soul and the special shrine of her heart’s deepest love.” It is a beautiful letter that sums up Clare’s spiritual path, the fulfillment of love in God and the journey into God. –from Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love
Your insights challenge us to seek
a different way to express our love.
In that spirit, may we open ourselves
to the power of silence.