Natus in Via
Born on the Way
Aug 11, 2020
Solemnity of St. Clare
Whole Hearted Love
Lift up your heads, O gates,
Be lifted up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Only a faithful soul is His dwelling place and throne, and this only through the charity that the wicked lack.” (3LAg 22)
Saint Clare, as with all who possess true & authentic poverty, shines forth in all clarity as a model of Hope. From that first night, stepping out into the darkness – running surely and with swift pace, light step, unswerving feet – her gaze was fixed, her heart anchored already to the place of destinations, to Him in whose Heart we already dwell (or does He dwell in our Hearts and Heaven is within, are we already in possession of that Glory?), straining towards that Glory beyond measure shining in the Face of Christ. Francis has shown her this Way, by word and example. The Holy “Father Francis whispered in her ears of a sweet espousal with Christ” and “immediately an insight into the eternal joys was opened to her at whose vision the world itself would become worthless, with whose desire she would begin to melt.”
Freely leaving behind what seemed so sure – family and lands, knightly protection and inheritance – she did not let the uncertainty restrain her. Though the fulfillment of the promise appears far off, it is not for that reason unsure. We move from worldly sand to Rock foundation, one upon which the Wood of the Cross is firmly planted, and upon which the Rock rejected hangs for our salvation. What lay ahead, then, was surely ‘Deprivation, poverty, hard work, trial… the shame [and] contempt of the world.” But, for the Joy that lay before her – the Beloved who would warmly wrap His right arm around her and kiss her with the sweetest kiss – she embraced the Cross, despising the shame.
She was filled with Joyful Hope, enkindled by a “God-centered poverty”, tenderness, contemplation, kindness, delight, remembrance, fragrance, hope of heaven’s vision. Humility, servant-hearted-dirt-boundness, alone, the sweet yoke of Christ who “un-glories” Himself and washes the feet of His disciples, puts us in a position to receive that Passion-ate Fire of the Crucified’s Heart. As the Legenda exults, “Burning with a heavenly fire, she so thoroughly condemned the glory of earthly vanity … and desired to make of her body a temple for God alone and strove by her virtue to be worthy of the marriage with the great King.” With Clare, we “hope against hope” (cf. Rom 4:18) in the fulfillment of the Promises. God alone is so worth our whole-hearted, totally-love.
Fr. Paschal Mary, MFVA