Behold Him

Part 17

The King of Glory

  Your God is King!  This prophetic declaration deeply resonated in the heart of St. Francis of Assisi .  I am the herald of the Great King, he proclaimed at the beginning of his conversion to Christ.  You have made yourselves daughters and handmaids of the Most High Sovereign King, he wrote to St. Clare and her first Sisters at San Damiano.

              Your God is King!  St. Clare did not hesitate to expand on this reality when she corresponded with her faithful disciple, the future St. Agnes of Prague .  Agnes was the daughter of a king and the sister of a king.  She could have become the wife of a king, too, except she responded to Christís call to leave everything to live for Him as an heiress and queen of the kingdom of heaven.  This vocational decision, the Seraphic Mother wrote, made Agnes not only the daughter of the King of kings but also the sister and spouse of the Most High King of heaven.

              Clare bids Agnes (and us): Behold JESUS as the eternal King of heaven, seated in glory on a starry throne.  Behold Him who is the King of angels enthroned in the poverty and humility of the manger.  Look long and often at the crucifix and see there the Lamb of God, the eternal King to whom you have been wondrously espoused!  Contemplate the King of all ages, stripped of glory, yet reigning triumphant from the tree of the Cross. Yearn to be eternally united with the King of all ages when you cross the threshold of death and enter His kingdom.

              This awareness of Christís Kingship is at the center of Clarian spirituality.  In all her writings, we can almost hear Clare take up the invitation issued in Psalm 24 and make it her own:  Let the King of glory enter!

 

Psalm 24 also poses a question:  Who IS the King of glory?   It is a question to which the Lady Clare responded:  IT IS THE LORD!  Jesus truly was the ruling force in the Seraphic Motherís life. She lived obedient  to Him  and according to His Will.  She was open to the guidance of His Holy Spirit, docile to His holy way of working in her soul, in her community, in the ecclesial and social currents of her time. 

            St. Clare lived with a graciousness and nobility befitting one espoused to the King of heaven.  She was sensitive to His Presence at prayer, at work, and even as she recreated with her Sisters.  In fact, Clare was always on the lookout for King Jesus, so much so that as she lay dying, she turned to one of her Sisters and asked, the King of glory  Do you, daughter, see as I do?

            But what about us, who live in an age far removed from that of St.  Clare, in a society in which royalty has little to do with daily life?

            Firstly, we can learn from St. Clareís FAITH.  We can experience life as she did, as an unending procession of events flowing from the hand of a merciful King and leading to His Heart.  We can make our own the liturgical refrain which unequivocally declares, King of all the ages, Your ways are perfect and true!

            Then we can expand our understanding of prayer as homage to the Great King.  Perhaps we can even take up St. Paulís magnificent hymn to Christ the King and make it an integral part of our prayer:

To the King of ages,

 immortal, invisible, the only God,

be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen!

1 Tim. 1:17

 

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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