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Friday, August 10, 2012

St Clare

"Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard see, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move." Mt 17:20

The feast of St. Clare is important to the church for many reasons. For a woman of the 13th century to resist her family's desire to enter a marriage that would strengthen their ability to defend themselves was remarkable in itself, but for Clare it was only the beginning. Clare's desire to follow Francis and live a radically simple life of poverty was unheard of in the church of Rome. Women who entered monasteries needed to be protected. To live without a dowry was unthinkable. But St. Clare was different.

Not only did Clare beg for (some say demand!), the privilege of poverty, which would allow her to rely totally, like the friars, upon the goodness of the faithful for her daily bread, she did all of this while living in an enclosed monastery without the freedom to beg from door to door. The Roman authorities did everything they could to dissuade her from what seemed like a foolish gamble, but her understanding of her call to witness to the goodness of the church by relying totally on their charity for her daily needs, won the day for her and us.

St Clare's star continues to shine in the 21st century. The Poor Clares remind us every day that a life of prayer, community and poverty is not only possible but necessary in a world obsessed with wealth and power. St Clare's daughters shout the gospel and sing its glory in a different key. The gospel does not trumpet what we own or who we control, but the One who is at the center of our heart.

Today, simplify your life.

Who challenges you to live more simply and transparently?

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