Grace to you!
Romantic stories thrill many. Billboard comedies are replete with their alluring power; so also, the series of Hallmark Movies. They bring many mixed emotions of love, hate, joy and sadness. We want to get to the end of the story. There is a unique suspense to their plots.
Those who leave convenient wealth and comfort of their families in pursuit of the love of their heart seem to win our instant admiration, while their “controlling” parents earn the express pass for villains.
Often, those stories are built around a person of elegant beauty or good candor. What if the story is about persons who left family inheritance to devote themselves to the service of the poor? What if the choice meant poverty for life, constant sacrifice for the welfare of others and a regular life of prayers for the souls of the decadent society?
Many tend to see this as madness. Surely, it seems so. During the time of Saint Francis, who even the environmentalists and nature promoters take as their model, family and close relatives did not regard him as sane. Saint Clare, the most fervent believer in Saint Francis, wasn’t regarded as lucid either.
Together, these two exemplary lights of the hill country of Assisi represent the excellence of poverty, inspiring generational health and spiritual luster. Visit Assisi and you would realize that if not for these two, that little hill country might have been forgotten in the backyard of history.
In our previous reflection, I hinted that the wealth of the Church is the poor. Saint Clare maximized that wealth by identification and evangelization.
She identified with the poor by renunciation and constant self-denial for the benefit of winning souls for Christ through prayers.
She evangelized by showing that the true joy of being in Christ and of Christ isn’t what we have, but what we are ready to give up, to share and to dispense from the hills of nature’s beatitudes.
About eight centuries after her death, is her name not more celebrated than many moneybags of previous generations and ours too? Who does not hear of the great works of the Poor Clares, those religious nuns who inspire the world with their audacious faith, charity, charming purity and selfless services to all irrespective of their color, class or faith?
Saint Clare left her home; and the Poor Clares do the same for Christ and the needy. And they discover that Jesus’s promise is always true: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).
Have you left anything behind for the sake of Christ? Have you also given something for God’s sake? There is joy in doing so and salvation too.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.