This month, let’s invoke St. Clare of Assisi to be our special helper and guide. We ask her to intercede for us that we may persevere in prayer and that we may shine brightly with faith, as she did.
She is perfect to lead us this August, the month in our tradition devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. After all, the Immaculate Heart shines forth with brightness, and St. Clare’s name in Italian means brightness.
St. Clare of Assisi received her name from a holy voice her mother heard shortly before childbirth insisting, “You shall bring forth a light which will illumine the world more clearly.” The baby was therefore named Chiara, Italian for “brightness,” translated “Clare” in English.
This baby was soon to become the holy Clare, born of noble birth and yet ready to give it all up once she was strongly influenced by the example of St. Francis of Assisi. When she refused to marry and instead made vows received by St. Francis, she became head of the second order of St. Francis. The Order of Poor Clares was formed at the convent of San Damiano. Clare was soon joined there by her mother and her sister, Agnes, who also became a saint.
Clare had a powerful devotion to the Holy Eucharist. August 11 is the feast day of St. Clare.
Here are three quotes by St. Clare that serve as wisdom for us in our own lives.
1Love that does not know of suffering is not worthy of the name.
Let us keep aflame in our hearts the desire to “offer it up.” What does that mean? First, it means being in a state of grace, and then accepting whatever hardship comes our way with a good and patient attitude; and then offering it to God, for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, the conversion of sinners, or reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for example.
When making a sacrifice you can pray this aspiration (one of the seven Fatima prayers):
O Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
You can also keep your whole day covered in advance by starting out the day praying a Morning Offering.
2Do not be disturbed by the clamor of the world, which passes like a shadow.
Let’s face it, it’s easy to be distracted or disturbed by the burdens of life, the hostilities and carelessness of people. It’s harder to be upset by these things when we remember how fleeting life is, yet how dependable and steady God is — and that we must fix our eyes on Him. When we do so, those things that used to bother us get easier to handle.
Try printing out this quote from St. Clare and placing it someplace you tend to experience worry, like your bedside, car, or desk. When the weight of the world presses upon you, re-read these wise words of St. Clare and remember: Everything passes except for God.
Suddenly, you’ll feel a whole lot lighter! Still stressed? Try reading this psalm, and re-read until one verse jumps out at you as the one meant to give you great consolation and peace. This psalm reminds of the fleeting nature of life and the protective strength of God. It’s a great way to increase trust in the Lord.
3Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.
What a wonderful aspiration from St. Clare, one that we can easily memorize and repeat now and then throughout our day to cultivate more gratitude. It’s such a joyful thing to remember: God planned me! This realization reminds us how much God is worthy of praise. In this spirit, let’s pray the Divine Praises.
Based on these three pearls of advice from the saint herself, if we follow the advice of St. Clare we will become more loving, peaceful, and grateful. Let us remember that suffering is a part of love and let that bring us comfort and help us to love with more abandon, and to suffer more nobly. Let us remember that when the world or the people in it are weighing heavily upon us, that it all passes like a shadow and we must keep our eyes fixed on what never changes: God.
And finally, let us remember to be grateful! God created us, designed us and gave us life. How good God is and how awesome, to have planned you, long before you were born. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Ps 139:13-14)
Celebrate this month
To celebrate the influence of St. Clare this month, try having a Clare-themed tea with your family or friends. Serve some St. Clare turnovers! Here’s a wonderful recipe adapted from a monastery in Portugal: Pasteis de Santa Clara. Since St. Clare was famous for her special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, go to Eucharistic Adoration! Finally, consider giving a devotion to your local monastery of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration.
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!