MEMORIAL OF ST. CLARE, AUGUST 11, 2020
A Reading from Phillipians 3:8-14
Brothers and sisters: I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession. Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.
REFLECTION: "I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him."
What a beautiful reading from the Epistle to the Philippians. Here St. Paul tells us how the material things seem nothing compared to the ultimate goal: being found in Christ.
He left everything he had: money, position and reputation to follow Jesus. Ultimately it cost him his life. And yet, because of this sacrifice, Paul was able to preach the Gospel of Christ in places like Antioch, and as far as Rome itself. And even to us this day through his writings.
Today's Saint Clare of Assisi also left everything when she heard God calling her. She belonged to a prominent noble family in Italy. At the age of 18 she heard St. Francis preaching and something stirred in her that changed her life.
On Palm Sunday 1212 she slipped from home and reached the chapel of the Portiuncula, where St. Francis and his brothers lived in a small community.
Before the statue of the Blessed Virgin, Clare laid her cloak, and Francis sheared her hair. After giving her a penitential habit, he took her to a nearby Benedictine convent where she was affectionately welcomed.
Her relatives tried repeatedly to "rescue" her form the convent. She declared that Christ had called her to His service, she would have no other spouse. Shortly after, her sister Agnes joined her as well.
St. Francis moved them to a house near St. Damiano, and there other women, including Clare and Agnes's mother joined them to form a community.
St. Clare became their superior, and is the first woman to write her own rule for her and her sisters. The rule was approved in 1253, when she was in her deathbed.
Her life was one of poverty and service to her sisters. It was her desire to always be beneath all the rest, serving the table, tending the sick and washing the dishes...
There are many stories about her devotion and miracles. And many are relative to our times. One that touches us day to day is about a time when she was so sick she could not get out of bed--not even to go to Mass.
While the other sisters were attending Christmas Eve Mass, she laid in her bed singing: “See Lord, I am left here alone with You.” Just then, the Lord allowed her to see the Mass from afar, as if it was taking place in her bedroom.
Many years later, a poor Clare, Sister Angelica of the Annunciation founded a Catholic TV station, EWTN, so we could also see and participate in the Mass and receive other Catholic content from the comfort of our home.
Television, streaming media, and other technologies can bring bad things to our homes, or at least amoral content. But they are great tools to take advantage of during these times of quarantine because of the pandemic: we can stream Masses from all over the world; the Holy Rosary from Lourdes or Fatima; Bible Studies and teachings from many reputable sources such as Formed, Augustine Institute; and even our own PAPA YouTube channel.
Like St. Clare, let's look and serve Jesus in all we do. And even when we cannot leave our home, let's ask Jesus to come to us, and use technology to learn about God. Let us not waste our time nor lose hope.