FRIDAY THE ELEVENTH OF AUGUST, 2017
* Clare of Assisi *
Almighty God, giver of life, grant unto us your life, that we may truly live; your love, that we may greatly rejoice; that we, knowing trouble, and acquainted with grief, may, through the goodly deliverance of faith and hope, come to the large joy of the peace that passes all understanding. Of your loving-kindness hear our supplications, we beseech you, through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.
( George Dawson )
Gaze upon the Lord of love,
gaze upon his face of grace;
gaze upon the living One
who holds you in close embrace.
Gaze upon the Lord of love,
gaze upon his coming poor
from the highest of the heavens
to our lowly earthly shore.
Look upon his loving way,
look upon his open heart,
look upon his sacred cross,
from death’s dust to bring new start.
If you learn from suffering,
if you open to life’s pain,
and allow your heart to weep,
then with him you’ll always reign.
Gaze upon the Lord’s dear cross,
the wounds of each day’s love,
gaze on his life, and know the
splendours of God’s heaven above.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Clare of Assisi: following the good road
It’s difficult to characterise the times that produced such holiness in people like Clare of Assisi. The quality of church life was spiritually impoverished. There were “bishops of bling” all over western Europe. The gap was wide indeed between the way of life spoken of in the "Book of Acts" and the lifestyle of twelfth century clergy. There was corruption everywhere. Such times produced a reaction among Christian people. Movements of reform were created, and some, like the Waldensians and the Cathars, could not be contained within the institutional church. Others, like the Franciscans, got a toehold in the church, and were tolerated, and later flourished.
Francis of Assisi espoused radical poverty. In the year 1212, Francis preached a sermon on “Lady Poverty” which made a strong impression on eighteen year old Clare Offreduccio, daughter of a wealthy family in Assisi. She approached Francis and begged to become a member of his order. Francis placed her in a convent of Benedictine nuns nearby. Her parents were horrified when they heard what she had done.
They brought her back home by force; but one night, in a gesture both tactical and symbolic, she slipped out of her house through "the door of the dead" (a small side door that was traditionally opened only to carry out a corpse) and returned to the house of the Franciscans.
Within a short time, other women had joined her. They were housed at a dwelling next to the Church of San Damiano in Assisi. They were called “the Poor Ladies of San Damiano.” Their practices were severe. They begged for their food and served the poor and neglected. Eventually they came to be known as “the Poor Clares.” That is still their name and heritage today.
In 1253 her final illness began. She received visitors daily. Even the Pope came to see her. She gave one consistent message to them: embrace holy poverty.
She told them: “Go forth in peace, you have followed the good road.”
She died on this day in 1253.
Scripture: In the "First Letter of Peter," the fourth chapter, verses one and two, we read:
"Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God."
... for peace in the world.
... for members of the Order of Saint Clare.
... for those who become poor in order to serve the poor.
... for those who suffer from ailments of the eye.
... for the people of Chad who celebrate their national day today.
... for those killed or injured when a coach crashed into the wall of a tunnel whilst traveling from Chengdu to Luoyang in China. DETAILS
... for the migrants who have drowned after being forced off boats by smugglers near the coast of Yemen. DETAILS
... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Clare of Assisi's letter to Ermentrude:
I know that you, dearest sister, have fled the filth of the world, with the help of God's grace; for which I rejoice and give thanks with you and again rejoice that you tread the paths of virtue strenuously with your daughters. Be faithful, dearest, to him to whom you are promised until death, and you will be crowned by him with the laurel of life.
This labour of ours is brief, but the reward is eternal; let the noises of the fleeting world and its shadow not confound you; let the empty spectres of the deceiving world not drive you mad; shut your ears to the whispers of hell and, strong, break down its attempts against you; willingly bear adverse evils and let provident goods not puff you up; for the one requires faith, the other demands it; what you promised God, faithfully render, and he will repay you.
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. Pray and be always vigilant and the work that you began well, finish and the ministry you assumed, fulfil in holy poverty and sincere humility.
Do not fear, daughter, God is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works, he will pour out his blessing on you and your daughters and he will be your helper and your best consoler; he is our redeemer and our eternal reward.
Let us pray God for each other, for in bearing each other's burden of charity we shall fulfil the law of Christ.
O God, through his poverty of your son, Jesus Christ, deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Clare, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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