13 August 2013

Saint Clare and Detachment from Worldly Things

Sub Tuum.

When last I wrote, it was of Saint Lawrence and the poor, who are the true treasures of the Church, and of detachment from wealth. Today, the Feast of Saint Clare, we are presented with another opportunity to explore this same theme. Perhaps the soft economy in which we live at present makes spiritual detachment from wealth even more relevant as people are physically being separated from their wealth. Even in times of a thriving economy, though, we must be motivated to burn the bridge between money and our hearts so that our soul may belong entirely to God. 

Saint Clare was a noblewoman, the daughter of the Count of Sasso-Rosso. She lived in the family palace in Assisi, home of the great and humble Saint Francis. When she turned 18, she eschewed the financially prosperous marriage that was being arranged for her and succeeded in escaping her family home to give herself completely to God. Even the manner of her escape is significant. She dug her way through a walled-up door in the palace that was only opened to carry out a member of the family who had died. This signified her own death to the world. 

Her father unleashed his fury on her in an attempt to bring her back. Clare clung to the very altar and dared him to try to separate her. As he would not commit such a sacrilege, he confronted her with filial piety. She showed her shaven head, which identified her as a bride of Christ. At this her father finally saw in her the same resolute will that he himself possessed. He admired her courage and accepted the path she had chosen. She lived a remarkable life dedicated to God in the service of the Church and died on the morning of the feast of Saint Lawrence. How fitting that the holy virgin from whom the Poor Clares take their name would died on the same day as that very Saint who declared the poor to be the true treasures of the Church! 

Now, not everyone is called to the cloistered life behind the walls of the monastery. Most of us are called to live out in the world. Therefore, let us choose to use what assets we have responsibly with a mind towards the common good. Let the model of Clare of Assisi be that we die to the world and do not generate income purely for the sake of money. Let the measure of success be what you do for others.