Thursday, August 11, 2016
Thessalonians, Chapter 3, Verse 5
5 For this reason, when I too could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had put you to the test and our toil might come to nothing.
Have you ever worked really hard on something and then had it just amount to nothing; at times I feel that way with this blog. At those times I am reminded that it is the tempter THAT is putting me to the test. We must push forward, if we know it is a good work; for it is the Lord’s work not ours and we must be patient we may not see the harvest but we will receive his grace.
The Lady Clare, "shining in name, more shining in life," was born in the town of Assisi about the year 1193. She was eighteen years old when St. Francis, preaching the Lenten sermons at the church of St. George in Assisi, influenced her to change the whole course of her life. Talking with him strengthened her desire to leave all worldly things behind and live for Christ. The following evening she slipped away from her home and hurried through the woods to the chapel of the Portiuncula, where Francis was then living with his small community. He and his brethren had been at prayers before the altar and met her at the door with lighted tapers in their hands. Before the Blessed Virgin's altar Clare laid off her fine cloak, Francis sheared her hair, and gave her his own penitential habit, a tunic of coarse cloth tied with a cord. When it was known at home what Clare had done, relatives and friends came to rescue her. She resisted valiantly when they tried to drag her away, clinging to the convent altar so firmly as to pull the cloths half off. Baring her shorn head, she declared that Christ had called her to His service, she would have no other spouse, and the more they continued their persecutions the more steadfast she would become. Francis had her removed to the nunnery of Sant' Angelo di Panzo, where her sister Agnes, a child of fourteen, joined her. This meant more difficulty for them both, but Agnes' constancy too was victorious, and in spite of her youth Francis gave her the habit. Later he placed them in a small and humble house, adjacent to his beloved church of St. Damian, on the outskirts of Assisi, and in 1215, when Clare was about twenty-two, he appointed her superior and gave her his rule to live by. She was soon joined by her mother and several other women, to the number of sixteen. They had all felt the strong appeal of poverty and sackcloth, and without regret gave up their titles and estates to become Clare's humble disciples. Within a few years similar convents were founded in the Italian cities of Perugia, Padua, Rome, Venice, Mantua, Bologna, Milan, Siena, and Pisa, and also in various parts of France and Germany. Agnes, daughter of the King of Bohemia, established a nunnery of this order in Prague, and took the habit herself. The "Poor Clares," as they came to be known, practiced austerities which until then were unusual among women. They went barefoot, slept on the ground, observed a perpetual abstinence from meat, and spoke only when obliged to do so by necessity or charity. Clare herself considered this silence desirable as a means of avoiding the innumerable sins of the tongue, and for keeping the mind steadily fixed on God. Francis or the bishop of Assisi sometimes had to command her to lie on a mattress and to take a little nourishment every day. Discretion, came with years, and much later Clare wrote this sound advice to Agnes of Bohemia: "Since our bodies are not of brass and our strength is not the strength of stone, but instead we are weak and subject to corporal infirmities, I implore you vehemently in the Lord to refrain from the exceeding rigor of abstinence which I know you practice, so that living and hoping in the Lord you may offer Him a reasonable service and a sacrifice seasoned with the salt of prudence." Saint Clare, Virgin, Foundress of the Poor Clares.
Dog days of summer are over
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