Clare was the noble and lofty tree bringing
THE SWEET FRUIT OF
He Find Faith?
A hint of wistfulness permeates the question Jesus posed at the end of
the parable of the persistent widow:
When the Son of Man comes to
earth, do you think He will find faith?
While this query points
primarily to Christ’s final coming, it can also refer to what St.
Bernard calls our Lord’s “intermediate comings.”
Will the Son of Man find faith
in our hearts when He comes in the daily occasions for virtue, in
little inspirations of grace?
Will He find faith as He
is proclaimed in His Word or is made present in the Blessed Sacrament?
when He reveals Himself in the distressing disguise of the poor or
in the shadow of the Cross?
Will He find faith?
There was one place in
Assisi in the early 13th
century where our Lord assuredly found faith and that was in the little
monastery of San Damiano.
Even its location outside the city walls was a
proclamation of its inhabitants’ faith in God’s protecting providence.
When St. Francis brought St. Clare and her first
companion, her younger sister Agnes, to this little nest of poverty in the
spring of 1212, a new chapter in the history of religious life began.
commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the
Risen Lord in the world.
(Pope Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei,
God’s plan, Clare and Agnes were not destined to remain alone.
them, wishing to live like the birds of the air and the lilies of the
field, gathered the first group of Sisters, for whom God alone sufficed.
(Bl. John Paul II)
The grace of faith opened the “eyes of their hearts”
to the beauty of a Gospel life of prayer and penance
hidden with Christ in God,
offered in union with Him for the salvation of the
(cf. CATECHISM, 158)
In the small space of the monastery of San Damiano, at the
contemplated with spousal affection in the Eucharist, day by day the
features developed of a community governed by the love of God and by
prayer, by caring for others and by service. In this context of profound
faith and great humanity, Clare became a sure interpreter of the
(Pope Benedict XVI, Letter for the 8th Centenary of St. Clare’s
The Seraphic Mother frankly admitted that
labor, trial, scorn and contempt of the world marked
her community’s first years.
Yet, unshakable faith in God made Clare and her
Sisters not only accept these sufferings but
reckon them as great
Faith made them understand that their consecrated
obscurity was a sharing in the hidden life of Jesus, a participation in
the holy humility,
the blessed poverty, the untold labors and burdens that He endured for the
whole human race.
(St. Clare, 4th Letter to St. Agnes of Prague)
years lived in the monastery of San Damiano did not narrow the horizons of
but expanded her faith in the presence of God, working
out salvation in history.
(Bl. John Paul II, Letter for the 750th anniversary of the
Death of St. Clare)
Clare still reminds the Church of the need for faith in God and of
attentiveness to His hidden action in the human heart and in human
It is always in the light of
faith that God gives Himself.
But the signs of God are so discreet in the ordinariness of your
everyday life that you must be vigilant if you are to persevere and grow
(Bl. John Paul II)
When the Son of Man comes to earth, will He find faith?
Through the example and prayers of St. Clare of
Assisi, may the answer be always: YES!