Friday, August 11, 2017

Happy Feast of St. Clare - In Word and Imagination

"Brother Leo, what do you think I saw reflected on the water down in that well?"
"My Father Francis," said Brother Leo, "You would have seen the moon that was shining in the sky."
"No, Brother Leo, I saw there the face of our Sister Clare."

The Little Flowers of St. Clare

Francis and Clare, depicted by Giotto

The short passage above, from the Italian writer (and one time mayor of Florence) Piero Bargellini, captures my affection for Clare of Assisi. 

In honor of today's feast day I actually typed out all of Murray Bodo's "The Rooms of St. Clare" before I realized that I had already posted it nearly seven years ago.  Instead, let me offer this bit of verse from Clare's fourth letter to Bl. Agnes of Prague:

Happy indeed is she
                to whom it is given to share in this sacred banquet
                so that she might cling with all her heart
                to Him
                                Whose beauty all the blessed hosts of heaven unceasingly admire,
                                Whose affection excites,
                                Whose contemplation refreshes,
                                Whose kindness fulfills,
                                Whose delight refreshes,
                                Whose remembrance delightfully shines,
                                By Whose fragrance the dead are revived,
                                Whose glorious vision will bless
                                                all the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem:
                                                                which, since it is the splendor of the eternal glory, is
                                                                the brilliance of eternal light
                                                and the mirror without blemish.

And, finally, the collect prayer for today's feast:

O God, who in your mercy led Saint Clare to a love of poverty,
grant, through her intercession,
that, following Christ in poverty of spirit,
we may merit to contemplate you
one day in the heavenly Kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.