SAINT CLARE, TRUE IMITATOR OF THE VIRGIN MARY

By sister Sr. Luz María Leyva

May is the month of Mary, a woman of faith who welcomed profoundly the Word of God.  She guarded all things and meditated on them in her heart.  From her silence she uttered a loud proclamation of the greatness of God.  Indeed the Virgin Mary was a model for Saint Clare.

In a remarkable way Clare imitated the Blessed Virgin in her practice of humility, poverty and contemplation of the Christian mysteries, through a progressive growth in divine union.

Clare spoke of this imitation to Saint Agnes of Prague, exhorting her to love completely her Divine Spouse and recommending to her a Marian devotion in her mystical life.  She encouraged in her a firm maternal adhesion to the Incarnate Word, through which Agnes herself would be in a spiritual but very real sense the mother of Christ.  As Mary carried the Lord Jesus materially in her womb, Agnes would carry Him spiritually in her chaste and virginal body, especially by her following Him in poverty and humility (Third Letter of Clare).

In her letters Clare speaks to Agnes with great confidence and affection, calling her “half of my soul,” because in Agnes burned the same passion that Clare had for the Franciscan following of the Poor Christ and her same commitment to the privilege of poverty.  These letters underline the determining role that fraternal love and the joyful and unconditional following of the poor and crucified Christ have in the plan of Clare´s contemplative life.

She writes to Agnes:  Look upon Him Who became contemptible for you, and follow Him, making yourself contemptible in this world for Him.  Most noble queen, gaze, consider, contemplate desiring to imitate your Spouse, Who though more beautiful than the children of men became, for your salvation, the lowest of men (Second Letter of Clare).

Clare, a true follower of St. Francis, lives an authentic joy in the midst of poverty, precisely because her joy is borne of identification with Christ poor and humble.  She enters into the heart of the Gospel, because like Mary she is attentive to listen to her Lord and accepts the adventure of faith, living a radical evangelization in joy and simplicity.  Her life is a stimulus for us, to live responsibly our mission in the world.

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