Behold Him

Part 8

The Way

          The Testament of St. Clare is an immensely rich document. Its tone is strong, tender, reflective and exultant. One can almost detect a note of triumph when the Seraphic Mother proclaims the essence of her Gospel form of life: The Son of God became for us the Way!

              These few words are the key to Clarian spirituality and the foundation of St. Clare's hidden life of prayer and penance: The Son of God became for us the Way! They tell the reason for Clare's material poverty. These words explain why, though she lived enclosed for forty-two years, she was always "on the way;" without ever becoming narrow or self-centered. The Son of God became for us the way! -- HER Way, to life, to love, to union with the Trinity, to communion with the members of Christ's Mystical Body.

No longer will your Teacher hide Himself, but
with your own eyes, you shall see your Teacher,
while from behind a voice shall say in your ear:
"This is the Way; walk it."
(Is. 30:20-21)

               The Divine Teacher uses human instruments to point Him out. St. Clare declares that it was the blessed Father Francis, His true, ardent lover and imitator, who had shown and taught her the Way which is Christ by word and example. Every word in this acknowledgment is important. The Way, which is Christ, is learned from teachers who, like St. Francis, are true and ardent. Jesus IS Truth, and His best witnesses are those who know the Truth, act in the Truth, and live in the Truth.

                But Jesus is not merely doctrinal knowledge or dogmatic certainty. He is Love; and the flame of His Love, enkindled by the Holy Spirit, is passed on by ardent hearts, hearts that are burning with love for Him, for His Kingdom, for the souls whom He has redeemed. These ardent lovers naturally become Jesus' most faithful imitators.

 

           They make real His love in a world grown cold with indifference, hemmed in by its self-sufficiencies, weighed down by its sins. Knowing Christ, loving Christ, imitating Christ, these ardent lovers and imitators say by word and example: "Christ is the Way; walk it!" They make real His love in a world grown cold with indifference, hemmed in by its self-sufficiencies, weighed down by its sins. Knowing Christ, loving Christ, imitating Christ, these ardent lovers and imitators say by word and example: "Christ is the Way; walk it!"

The Son of God became for us the Way!

                 But where does this Way, which is Christ, lead? St. Clare again supplies the answer when she urges her followers to strive to imitate the way of holy simplicity, humility and poverty and the integrity of a holy way of living in the same way that we were taught by our blessed Father Francis.

                How long and often Clare's gaze of faith lingered on the Lord Jesus as the Way of holy simplicity! How deeply she beheld Him as the fullest expression of the Truth which is humility! How fully she understood that Jesus Himself  IS the exalted Way of the highest poverty! And, in beholding Jesus, the Son of God become her Way, Clare studied the integrity of the holy way of living which her Seraphic Father Francis taught and entrusted to her to pass on to others.

Stand beside the earliest roads,
ask the pathways of old,
"Which is the Way to good?" and walk it;
thus you will find rest for your souls. (Jer. 6:16)

                   Life's events, challenges, decisions and sufferings daily pose the question: Which is the way to good? Beholding the Son of God who became for us the Way -- OUR Way we too can answer: You, O Lord, are the Way which leads to infinite good, to unlimited love, to unending life!

 

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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