Most High Lord


         In Chapter 6 of her Rule, St. Clare includes a moving text which could be called
St. Francis’ “Profession of Poverty:”

I, little Brother Francis, will to follow
the life and poverty
of our MOST HIGH LORD Jesus Christ…
and to persevere in them until the end.

This declaration of the Little Poor Man as he lay dying was the life force underlying all of the Seraphic Mother’s efforts to uphold the Franciscan ideal.  It is also the foundation of her contemplative experience of Christ, the MOST HIGH LORD who, for our sake, became the lowest of men, who emptied Himself and became obedient even to death, death on a Cross. Phil. 2:8  What a paradox, this life and poverty! 

 God has made both LORD and Christ
this Jesus whom you crucified!
Acts: 2:36

St. Peter’s Pentecost proclamation was more than an exhilarating scriptural text for St. Clare.  It was an affirmation of where the life and poverty of this MOST HIGH LORD led, a confirmation of Jesus’ own words, He who humbles himself will be exalted.

Therefore, God highly exalted Him
and gave Him the Name above every other name
so that every tongue confess that JESUS Christ is LORD!
Phil. 2:9,11

   No one can say:
except by the Holy Spirit.

 1 Cor. 12:3

It was by the grace of the Holy Spirit that St. Clare could profess her faith in Jesus as Lord.   It was by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that she undertook to live such a radical form of religious life.  And it was by the light of the Holy Spirit that she dared to look deeply, lovingly, wonderingly into the love of the Lord Jesus.

You call Me Master and LORD,
and rightly, for so I am.
If, therefore, I who am Master and LORD
have washed your feet,
you also ought to wash the feet of one another.
John 13:14

But St. Clare’s contemplation of JESUS, THE MOST HIGH LORD, was not merely a matter of personal fascination and profound admiration.  It led to a concrete and very practical imitation of Him in her daily life.  It also led to a widening of her spiritual horizons, for her Lord was also the Lord of everything in heaven, on the earth and under the earth.

It is little wonder that St. Clare’s beholding of JESUS, THE MOST HIGH LORD, made her entire life an unceasing act of praise, an unending Gloria which we, too, are invited to sing:

You alone are the Holy One.
You alone are the LORD.
You alone are the MOST HIGH,

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