Monday, July 16, 2012


Today is the birthday of St. Clare of Assisi, born in 1194. When I was first drawn to catholicism, I saw the film Brother Son, Sister Moon and fell in love with Francis and Clare. When I was baptized I chose Francis as my namesake and imagined myself not unlike Clare. Like her, I was drawn as a teenager to the young Francis of Assisi preaching the good news, living in simplicity, peace and harmony with all creatures. At 18, Clare knew her calling as a joyful privilege that enabled her to live the way of Jesus. To this day, joy and simplicity is still the magnet of God’s love for me; the ‘Infallible Sign of God’s Presence’. I am thankful today for her life, for the spirit-prompt in the midst of this crazy world. And I am grateful for this film so full of beauty and unabashed sentimentality which gave me a feeling and an image of a person touched by God, driven by faith and love that spoke to my young heart...
In what seems to me an ironic twist, Pope Pius XII in 1958 designated St. Clare as the patron saint of television. (Now I understand that look on so many of the saintly portraits!  It's an ancient expression of "Are you kidding me?!")  Why television?  Well, when she became bedridden near the end of her life, it's said that she was able to see and hear the Mass while by all appearances she simply stared at a wall of her room. Even in sickness, she could still ‘taste and see’ the goodness of the Lord.
I am in the midst of preparations for a retreat I am giving this weekend entitled Trust in the Journey and I have been considering both the outward journey of life and the inward journey. Clare’s feast coming today begged the question of me – when I am staring at a wall, what plays in my head? For the moment, it is the scene in the grain field, breaking the bread, the prayer of St. Francis. 
And for a moments levity, a few saintly portraits that have mastered that aforementioned look...
Clare of Assisi

Francis of Assisi

See what I mean? I'd know that look anywhere! 
Now can you imagine yourself a saint?!

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