DAY TWO – AUGUST 3
“O dearest, look on heaven that invites us, and bear the cross and follow Christ who preceded us; indeed, after various and many tribulations we shall enter through him into his glory. Love with your whole heart God and Jesus, his son, crucified for our sins, and never let his memory escape your mind; make yourself mediate continually on the mysteries of the cross and the anguish of the mother standing beneath the cross.”
On the 19th, of March 1212, Clare, following the directions of Francis, left her home. She was beautifully dressed. During the night, without the knowledge of her relatives, she went out of her home. Leaving home was not easy because her relatives wanted her to marry someone powerful and rich as was the costume at that time.
“But after the news reached her relatives, they condemned with a broken heart the deed and proposal of the virgin and, bonding together as one, they ran to the place, attempting to obtain what they could not. They employ violent force, poisonous advice, and flattering promises, trying to persuade her to give up such a worthless deed that was unbecoming to her class and without precedence in her family. But Clare taking hold of the altar cloths, she bared her tonsured head, maintaining that she would in not way be torn away increasing violence of her relatives, her spirit grew and her love provided strength until her relatives turning back, were quiet.” (Leyenda,9)
A few days after that, she went to another place called saint Angelo de Panzo, but her soul was not completely at peace there. So, by the advice of Saint Francis, she established herself at to San Damiano.
Saint Clare’s Trust in God
Today we begin the second day of our Novena with a look at how St Clare lived the Spirit of Poverty and how it filled her with great joy.
In the beginning, Saint Clare embraced Poverty with strict rigidity and deprivation in her youthful fervor of total abandonment. She fasted so severely that her sister’s feared for her life, and Francis himself had to command her to eat something each day. Her grasp of poverty in youth was more of stern denial than an embrace of God’s will. But as she grew in wisdom and grace, like Saint Francis she began to view things differently. Merely to deprive oneself was not true poverty – for one could be as proud of one’s poverty as one could be of riches. No, true poverty meant that one was totally and completely dependent upon God. If God provided a scrap of bread – to God was given the glory, if God provided a piece of cake – then again even as before – to God was given the glory.
To be poor was to live in total and complete insecurity of life. As God fed the birds of the air and clothed the lilies of the field – so she trusted God to care for her needs and that of her sisters. To be poor meant they did not own lands and fields that brought in a steady income. Each day was left for God to provide. And what did she find? God did provide, each and every day.
Only two miracles are recorded in her canonization of multiplication. Once of bread and once of oil. But I am sure in Clare’s eyes these multiplications were performed every single day. When they woke in the morning with no bread and the sequestering brother brought them a loaf – or a villager brought them some fruit, or a relative came with a gift surely that was a miracle of multiplication as well! From day to day God provided and so each day there was new cause to praise God for his fatherly and loving care of them.
Now we too, must daily grow in trusting God to provide for our needs as well. We ask Saint Clare to guide us as she guided her sisters – to live each day not fearful of the morrow but rather filled with praise for our God is a loving and caring God. He will provide.
Prayer to Saint Clare of Assisi
O seraphic Saint Clare, first woman to become a disciple of the Poor Man of Assisi, you left riches and honors for a life of sacrifice and extreme poverty, obtain for us from God, we implore you, the favor we seek (mention your intention); and may we always humbly accept whatever He wills for us, completely confiding in the loving providence of our Heavenly Father.
O Seraphic Saint Clare, who, although living apart from the world, did not forget the poor and afflicted, but showed a motherly solicitude for them by sacrificing your own wealth and working many miracles in their behalf, obtain for us from God, we implore you, the favor we seek, (mention your intention); and may we also, as becomes true followers of Christ, charitably help our brothers and sisters in all their necessities, whether of soul or body.
O Seraphic Saint Clare, shining light of Italy, which you did prevent from being overrun and devastated by barbarians, obtain for us from God, we implore you, the favor we seek, (mention your intention); and may we with His help overcome the snares of a world having neither faith nor morals, maintaining in our homes true Christian peace, together with a salutary fear of God and a true devotion to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.
The Blessing of Saint Clare of Assisi
May Almighty God bless You!
May He look with kindness upon you with the eyes of his mercy,
and give you his peace –
May he pour forth his graces on you abundantly and in heaven –
may He place you among his saints.