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Friday, September 7, 2012

"Preaching Christ Crucified" a Mass Homily

By the Franciscan Brothers Minor's Fr. David Mary, FFM

St. Clare: Footprint of Our Lady

St. Clare: Footprint of Our Lady
By: Fr. David Mary, F.F.M

St. Clare has been called “The Footprint of Our Lady”. What a most precious title! In other words, to follow St Clare is to follow the Blessed Mother. If one wants to walk securely in the way of the Mother of God, then walking in the life of St. Clare is the way to do it.
The first prophecy that comes to mind is Palm 45, although the first part of the psalm speaks of the coming of the great king, the second part speaks of Our Lady, the great queen:

Listen O daughter and give eat to my words,
Forget your own people and your Father’s house
So has the king desired your beauty,
He is your Lord, pay homage to Him

The “daughter” who is called into the palace of the king hears and responds to the “word of the Lord”. She is called not to give “service” to the Lord, but her whole self. She must forget all, leave all, abandon all, and accept all that God wishes to bestow upon her. He wants “her”. He desires her, not what she can do for Him. The Lord, The King, cares for her.

Obviously this is about our Lady who, in fact, gave her whole self to the Lord. The Blessed Mother did not provide the Lord a “service of Motherhood” as if she was some hired baby sitting service. Nor did she simply “Minister to the Lord” as if He were some needy person in need of some mothering. No! she gave her whole heart, soul, mind and strength. She gave Him, not only her body, but all of herself, for eternity. She held back nothing for herself, of herself, she gave it all. “Homage” for Our Lady, was not a religious ceremonial act, it was the total gift of her life!

The same can easily be said of St. Clare who strove to follow Our Lady’s example. When Christ called her to Himself she said her “Fiat Mihi” in an unconditional, limitless, unreserved and most complete way she knew how. On Palm Sunday, also known as “Passion Sunday”, she, after receiving a palm from the bishop, made a very passionate move, in the middle of the night she fled her home by passing out through the door used only to carry out the dead.

St. Clare left for her family a very vivid statement of her “Fiat”, she had heard and responded, “Forget your own people and your Father’s house”, she did. Like Our Lady, she wanted to be alive only for Christ, no one else. She didn’t want to do for Him, minister to Him or serve Him. She wanted to love Him, just Him, and through Him to love all. St. Clare’s heart was too big to simply serve God. She wanted to be for Him. The Lord desired her beauty, she knew that! she accepted that and she gave Him what He desired, Herself!

The Blessed Virgin Mary, as prophesied by the same psalm 45, is called to be the great intercessor before her Son, “Kings shall seek your favor”. Like King Solomon’s mother Bethsheba, (who is a foreshadow of Our Lady in her queenship) she asks for what ever she wills and it is granted to her. Just like Queen Esther, who also is a foreshadow of Our Lady, she enters the palace of the King and obtains the salvation of her people.

Like Our Lady, she did the Lord homage.  The Homage that St. Clare gave, like the Blessed Mother, was not a ceremonial service of praise, adoration or even of gratitude. She gave her life to praise, adore and thank Him. Her very life was an act of praise, adoration and gratefulness. Waking, sleeping, eating, serving the sisters, or praying were all, for St. Clare, acts of praise, adoration and gratitude. . St. Clare’s heart was so on fire with love for her Lord that she had no need to prove it through great magnificent acts of ministry. Every small act of her life was imbued with love, she lived what Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta taught, “Do ordinary things with extraordinary love”.

St. Clare is also called into the court of the king, who has desired her. Those who sought St. Clare’s favor had their needs met because she obtains them from her King, her Spouse, indeed her Son. Like another Esther, St. Clare delivered her people, Assisi, from certain destruction. Hired assassins were sent to destroy Assisi. They were climbing the walls of San Damiano, St. Clare’s Monastery, and she took to the Chapel and besought her King. Her King, the Eucharistic Lord, heard, responded, and sent the would be assassins fleeing with their tails between their legs. One would have to spend a long time in order to recount the amazing amount of miracles wrought by St. Clare before and after her death. A truly powerful intercessor.

She was, is, a powerful intercessor not because she fasted (which she did, a lot), nor because she did grave penances (which she did, a lot), nor because she lived in great austerity (which she really did – a whole lot), but she is a great intercessor because she loved, she loved the Lord so much like Our Lady that the Good Lord couldn’t help but respond. To put it quite frankly, He loved her so much that He couldn’t refuse her. Much like His inability to refuse His Own Mother.

What is so awesome about St. Clare is that she really did live like Our Lady. While St. Clare was dying, one of the sisters had a vision of Our lady leading the whole court of heavenly virgins to bring St. Clare to heaven with them. As Our lady drew near St. Clare, the sister witnessing this heavenly vision could not tell the difference between Our Lady and St. Clare. They were identical to each other. So much did St. Clare’s soul reflect the image of the Blessed Virgin.

We Friars and the sisters all call St. Clare “Mother”. And rightfully so, for she was, is, a true Mother to us all. Not only is she Mother because she is a foundress, but also because she loves us as a Mother loves her children. I believe there is another reason. I think it’s also because Jesus May very well have called her “Mother”. After all, St. Clare loved Him just like His own Mother loved Him. Yes! Holy “Mother” St. Clare Mother to us all, Mother to the Son of God.

 (St. Clare holding the Infant Jesus with Our Lady nearby)
Above taken from the Franciscan Brothers Minor: