Behold Him

Part 16

The Lamb Without Spot

            The Eucharistic tenor of St. Clare’s contemplative prayer allows us to presume that she often lingered on the words which the priest proclaims at every Mass before Holy Communion: Behold the Lamb of God!  Clare’s faith in the Real Presence was so ardent that she wept as she came to receive the immaculate Lamb in Communion for, as her biographer wrote, she feared Him no less hidden in the Sacrament than ruling heaven and earth.

 

            Behold the Lamb of God!  This is the leit-motif of Clare’s Eucharistic adoration.  Hours of prayer before the Tabernacle attuned the Holy Mother to the silent Presence of Jesus, the meek and humble Lamb -- the Lamb who is both Victim and Victor.  She united the oblation of her life, her prayer, praise, supplication, intercession, weeping, offering and sacrifice in union with the infinite “thanks” of the only-begotten Son. (Bl. John Paul II)

 

            St. Francis never saw a lamb at the market without recalling the Scripture passage comparing God’s Suffering Servant to a lamb led to the slaughter who was silent and opened not his mouth.  Given St. Clare’s great devotion to the Passion, it is likely that she too often meditated upon Jesus as the silent Lamb, the Lamb without spot who takes away the sins of the world.  The Seraphic Mother put into action what she beheld in this Lamb who redeemed the sheep: docility, silence, submission, surrender. 

 

            But as St. Clare drew near to death, another facet of this Christ-image came to the fore: Jesus, the Victorious Lamb, who stands at the right of the throne of God in heaven.  The Book of Revelation speaks of the multitude that sings a new song before the throne of God and of the Lamb.  On earth, that song of praise is sung in faith; in heaven, it is sung in the brightness of the beatific vision.

 

On the threshold of eternal life, Clare stood before the Lamb like a bride wondrously espoused.  The robe of her soul had been washed white in the Blood of the Lamb.  Docile, submissive and surrendered to the action of His grace, the Lady Clare had allowed the Lamb to purify, sanctify and transform her whole self through contemplation in the image of the Godhead. (3rd Letter to St. Agnes of Prague ) 

 

            In the Book of Revelation, we read that the heavenly Jerusalem has no need of sun or moon, for the Lord God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. (Rev. 21:23)  Jesus, the Lamb of God, had long been the lamp of St. Clare’s life.  She knew Him in whom she believed -- the Lamb without spot, the Lamb of the eternal King.  Counted among those who sing a new song before the throne of God and of the Lamb and who follow the Lamb wherever He goes, St. Clare says to us also:  Blessed indeed are those who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb!

And I heard around the throne
 
and the living creatures and the elders
 
the voice of many angels, saying with a loud voice:

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
to receive power and riches, wisdom and might

and honor and glory and blessing!

And I heard every creature in heaven
and on earth and under the earth

and in the sea, and everything in the universe saying:

To Him who sits on the throne
 
and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor

and glory and might forever and ever!

                                          (Rev. 5:11-13)

Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy
300 North 60th Street
Belleville , Illinois   62223-3927   U.S.A.
www.poorclares-belleville.info

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