most Beloved Child
Jesus, Poor and Humble

 

                                     

Francis, poor and humble, enters rich into heaven! What thoughts must have stirred in the heart of Clare of Assisi when she chanted this verse from the liturgical Office for the feast of her beloved father and mentor? Poor and humble, Francis had lived in this world, Poor and humble, he taught his followers his Gospel-inspired way. Poor and humble, he left this world, lying on the bare earth, and clad in a borrowed habit. And so he entered heaven, rich in grace and rich in glory.

But what was the true triumph of the Little Poor Man, which St, Clare sought to emulate? it was not that he simply liked being poor or that he found humility a helpful virtue in the ascetical ascent. No, Francis, Clare, and generations of Seraphic saints after them were poor and humble because, first and foremost, JESUS was POOR AND HUMBLE. Their entire spiritual quest was summarized by the Seraphic Mother in these simple words: the following of the footsteps of the POOR AND HUMBLE JESUS CHRIST.

How often and how deeply St. Clare looked into the Mirror who is Christ to contemplate the mystery of His poverty and humility. Learn from me, the Divine Teacher declared, for I am meek and humble of heart. This Son of Man who, laid poor in a manger, lived poor in the world, and remained stripped on the Cross, opened to Francis and Clare the secret of true wealth. Jesus had gone the way before them: poor and humble He lived in this world: poor and humble, He taught His followers the Gospel way; poor and humble, He handed over even His Spirit as He tasted death for the sake of us all.

Every facet of Christ's life thus became a school in which Sta Clare learned the ineffable lessons of poverty and humility. When she tarried by the Crib, Clare beheld in the POOR AND HUMBLE JESUS the God who espoused our human littleness, our weakness and limitations. She saw the God who touched and transformed what is most vulnerable on this earth into what is most valuable in the Kingdom of Heaven: Unless you change and become like little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven,

Beholding the POOR AND HUMBLE JESUS in His hidden life, Clare grasped the deeper reasons for her own hidden life of prayer, penance and humble labor, the consecrated obscurity which mirrored the humility and the poverty of the Lord who lived unknown on earth.

But it was especially as St, Clare beheld the POOR AND HUMBLE JESUS on the Cross that she understood the poverty and humility of God which had become not only the source of man's enriching, but also of man's redemption. Then it became a mater not only of following His poverty and humility or of simply serving Him in poverty and humility, but of becoming poor and humble like Him end with Him and in Him.

It is only then that one is able to enter rich into heaven. Beholding the POOR AND HUMBLE JESUS with faith and love, inevitably leads to becoming like the POOR AND HUMBLE JESUS. Even more, it is an invitation to our Lord to take up His dwelling in us, to unite Himself to us, so that His Father rejoices to see JESUS, POOR AND HUMBLE, living in us.

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PART 7