Clare was the noble and lofty tree bringing forth

THE SWEET FRUIT OF FAITH

O Woman, Great is Your Faith
Matthew 15:28

       Great faith deserves great rewards, St. Bernard once declared. We see this verified in the life of St. Clare when God dramatically repaid her great faith in His Son's Eucharistic Presence with two miracles of liberation and deliverance.

      There are two episodes in which, with the strength of her faith
and with the humility of prayer, Clare succeeded in freeing
the city of Assisi and (her) monastery from the danger of destruction,
(Bt. John Paul IL Letter for the 750th anniversary of the Death of St. Clare)



       The first of these episodes took place on a Friday morning in September 1240. Mercenary soldiers scaled the walls of San Damiano, intent on pillaging the monastery before beginning their attack on Assisi. St. Clare, although seriously ill, had the Blessed Sacrament brought down to the door, where she prostrated herself before the Lord, begging Him to defend her community. The Sisters supporting her heard the voice of a little child saying, I will always take care of you. After receiving our Lord's assurance that He would also defend the city, the Seraphic Mother turned to her weeping daughters and bade them not to fear_ Suddenly the soldiers who had so boldly clambered over the enclosure walls retreated, without harming the Sisters, the monastery or the city.


       A short time later, in June 1241, Vitale d'Aversa, an ambitious captain of the imperial army, began a campaign of slaughter and destruction intended to culminate with the capture of Assisi. On learning that the enemy forces were nearing the city gates, St. Clare led her Sisters in a daylong prayer campaign before the Blessed Sacrament, entreating God's protection for their beloved city. The following day, the imperial army inexplicably disbanded and d'Aversa was forced to retreat, his mission unaccomplished. Every year on June 22 the citizens of Assisi still gratefully recall this miraculous deliverance with Masses, prayers, processions and ceremonies in honor of St. Clare.


The great faith which was crowned with such great rewards did not spring from a vacuum. It was the fruit of a lifetime of deeply cultivated faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In the monastery of San Darniano, Jesus was contemplated with spousal affection in the Eucharist. (Pope Benedict XVI, Letter for the 86 Centenary of the Consecration of St Clare)   Day and night. Clare could he found prostrate before the Tabernacle, adoring, praising, loving, entreating her beloved Lord. The Sisters saw bow reverently and often with tears the Lady Clare approached the Eucharistic table. She feared Him no less in the Holy Sacrament than ruling heaven and earth, one of them remarked during the Process for Clare's canonization. Her Eucharistic faith was also expressed in very practical ways. Even on her sickbed, Clare spun fine linen which her Sisters then sewed into corporals and other altar accessories for the churches in the area around Assisi. There was even a Eucharistic tenor to some of the miracles wrought through the Seraphic Mother's intercession as when a halt loaf of bread multiplied into fifty good portions to feed her hungry community,


0 woman, great is your faith!
Our Lord exclaimed to the woman who pleaded, humbly and persistently, for the deliverance of her child. Recalling the strength, the persistence and the ardor of the Eucharistic faith of St. Clare, the same exclamation readily comes to mind: 0 woman, great is your faith. Her witness of great faith invites us to become people of an ever-growing faith in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus and to allow that "Eucharistic amazement" to shape and transform our prayer, our participation in the liturgy and our daily lives.

HOME            BACK