Homily for the Memorial of St. Clare of Assisi
The story of St. Clare is really a beautiful one of coming to an experience with the Lord and falling so deeply in love with Him that she is willing to allow that love to invade every aspect of her life.
Clare was one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi. She came from a wealthy family and had everything she had ever needed. Yet, when she was 18 years old, she heard a Lenten mission by Francis and it challenged her to live this radical form of discipleship – to embrace poverty, humility, and holiness. Shortly after, she entered the convent, and would go on to establish her own religious order known as the Poor Ladies.
One of the most beautiful stories of St. Clare’s relationship with the Lord and her radical trust in God comes from an experience in 1224. Frederick II, the King of Germany, was close to invading the town of Assisi. Clare, who was very sick at the time, was incredibly worried about what the soldiers were going to do to the town and to her convent. So as the soldiers approached, Clare took the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance, walked to the walls of the city and placed the Blessed Sacrament on the wall and entrusted the city to the Lord’s protection. The story goes that she prayed to the Lord, saying: “Lord, protect these Sisters whom I cannot protect now.” Then a voice came from the heavens, replying: “I will keep them always in my care.” When the soldiers heard the voice, they were struck with fear and they fled and the city of Assisi was spared.
What a beautiful story of trusting God! And the question it leaves me thinking about is, do I have that same trust in the Lord? Our readings today speak about this radical trust in the Lord. The Gospel reminds us of the demands of discipleship and the reward if we strive to follow the Lord wholeheartedly. Jesus tells His disciples: “everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.”
Following the Lord is not easy; it will require us to sacrifice much. God should be the most important person in our lives, following Him should be our main priority – even before loving our spouse or our children. That can sometimes be a hard reality to face. But it is possible. And, if we seek to do our best in those efforts, the reward for us will be great. If we all place our trust in the Lord, having faith that He will support us in our striving for holiness and striving for that wholehearted discipleship, we will gain eternal life.
Today, as we approach the Lord, may we ask Him to give us the grace to have a radical trust in Him, that we might have the grace the surrender all our lives to Him so that we may be led to Eternal Life in heaven. May the Lord’s words to Clare be spoken to us today…”I will keep you always in my care.”