By Sister Maria de Cristo Palafox

President of the Federation of our Lady of the Angels

Clare… 1212 How was your Lent, that Lent of 1212? It had begun with the sign of conversion, that 8th of February… Ash Wednesday. How strongly resounded in your heart the words of the Apostle: “Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation!” – You took it to heart… it was over a year that you were walking, waiting for this “acceptable time”. Palm Sunday approaches with its awaited sign.

Your heart beats to the rhythm of grace and, while the moment to untie every bond nears, you prepare your exodus. The future is unknown but not uncertain, for you know well that the One who calls and enamors you, directs your history. He has already traced the route of your footsteps and you trust Him. –You will speak of this clearly much later: “The Son of God has been made for us the Way”. That’s enough for you, to know that Christ Jesus is your Way, all the rest… He knows it, and that is sufficient for you.

Palm Sunday

 The day has arrived… March 18th. You have received the signal, with the palm and the olive branch placed in your hands by the bishop. The Spouse is already at the door… He waits for you tonight. With Him you will enter the holy city, “going up to Jerusalem” as Holy Week begins. –Thinking of that night, of your escapade… I cannot but remember those verses of the mystic poet in his “Dark Night”. It would seem as if he was writing of you:

 On a dark night,

Kindled in love with yearnings

–oh, happy chance!–

I went forth without being observed,

 My house being now at rest.

In darkness and secure,

 By the secret ladder, disguised

–oh, happy chance!–

 In darkness and in concealment,

 My house being now at rest.

In the happy night,

In secret, when none saw me,

Nor I beheld aught,

 Without light or guide,

 save that which burned in my heart.

[St John of the Cross]

That night, “night more lovely than the dawn”, your flame was on fire and began to shine, clear, as your name. There have now been eight centuries of light, irradiating the brightness of your life and your charism, the gift of your self-giving to Jesus Christ, without holding back anything, the gift of being sister poor and simple, of being flame of hidden and silent prayer. This vocation, this total giving of yourself is prolonged in the life of each sister who takes in her hands the living and burning torch of the clarian charism.

Thank you, Mother Clare, for your living flame, burning and shining, entrusted as a gift to your sisters, to be bearers of the same light…

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