Behold Him

Part 9

Crucified for us sinners

          Love God from the depths of your heart,
and Jesus His Son who was crucified for us sinners
.
Never let the thought of Him leave your mind.

          These words written to one of her spiritual protégées form the leit-motif of St. Clare’s spirituality.  They are a concise summary of her approach to prayer, to a personal relationship with God and especially to a vibrant and life-giving identification with JESUS, crucified for us sinners.

           
Clare’s devotion to the Passion was the formative power in her spiritual life.
(I. Brady) If she could exhort her Sisters never to let the thought of Christ Crucified leave their minds, it was simply because she had found in this method of mindfulness the key to a deeply contemplative, truly holy life.

            In beholding JESUS, crucified for us sinners, Clare of Assisi gazed on the summit of all virtues: love, patience, poverty, obedience, humility, self-sacrifice, meekness, generosity, kindness, abandonment.  The Cross was the focal point for Clare’s imitation of Christ.

            Beholding JESUS, crucified for us sinners, increased the ardor of Clare’s sisterly love, as she plumbed the depths of the ineffable charity of the One who for our salvation emptied Himself even to death on the Cross.

            Beholding JESUS, crucified for us sinners, expanded her awareness of the reality of sin.  The fruit of Clare’s gazing upon Christ Crucified was an intensification of her spirit of compunction, manifested in her ardent prayer and unceasing penance for the conversion of sinners.

 

 Beholding JESUS, crucified for us sinners, enabled St. Clare to enter into the mystery of holy compassion and take her place at the foot of every cross, wherever Christ was suffering in one of the members of His Mystical Body.

            Beholding JESUS, crucified for us sinners, raised the Seraphic Mother to the heights of mystical love, as the Cross became for her the sign of life and healing, the sign of joy and unspeakable delight. (I. Brady)   Her sublime and steadfast gazing on the Word made flesh also made St. Clare more tender and loving towards those with whom she lived.

            How can we reach the heights of beholding JESUS, crucified for us sinners? And where does this holy beholding lead us?

            The Seraphic Mother gives us the answer.  As we BEHOLD JESUS, crucified for us sinners, we must also cultivate a deep desire to IMITATE HIM.  We need to see with the eyes of faith that every event in life offers us the opportunity to unite ourselves with Jesus, crucified for us sinners, recalling St. Clare’s assurance that if you suffer with Him, you will reign with Him.  If you weep with Him, you will rejoice with Him; if you die with Him on the cross of tribulations, you shall possess heavenly mansions in the splendor of the saints.

            Gazing upon Jesus Crucified, St. Clare discovered that His sorrows, pains and sufferings had become her sorrows, pains and sufferings.  She also found that her weaknesses, infirmities and sufferings had been taken up into His perfect sacrifice.  And she tells us where this imitating, suffering, weeping and spiritual dying will lead: Because of this you shall share always and forever in the glory of the kingdom of heaven, in everlasting treasures instead of those that perish, and you shall live forever.

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

HOME

BACK