Clare of Assisi died 760 years ago tomorrow (August 11, 1253). Yet she remains as much a beacon for women and men of faith today as she did in her own day. For centuries the story of Clare has been interpreted through the life of Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), the one-time playboy who was destined to become Catholicism’s most popular saint.
Yet her indomitable faith complements that of her guide and truest love, St. Francis, whom I wrote about in my book A Mended and Broken Heart: The Life and Love of Francis of Assisi (Basic Books, 2008; paperback 2012).
Clare’s spiritual devotion blossomed as a result of the bond she shared with Francis, but found its fullest fruit after Francis’ premature death. While her life is forever bound to his, Clare was a force unto herself who cast her own light and left a unique echo.
I have already written a post about Clare. Rather than be redundant, to honor her memory and share the inspiration she has rendered to me, I include below her salient advice and encouragement:
What you hold, hold. What you do, do. And do not stop. With a swift pace, nimble step, and feet that do not stumble so that even your walking does not kick up any dust. Go forward tranquilly, joyfully, briskly, and cautiously along the path of happiness, trusting in no one and agreeing with no one who might want to dissuade you from pursuing your founding purpose or might place a stumbling block in your way, preventing you, in that perfection with which the Spirit of the Lord has called you
I consider you someone who is God’s own helper and who supports the drooping limbs of His ineffable body.
Completely ignoring all those who in this deceitful and turbulent world ensnare their blind lovers, totally love Him who gave Himself totally out of love for you, whose beauty the sun and moon admire, and whose rewards, in both their preciousness and magnitude, are without end.