Clare was the noble and lofty tree bringing forth

THE SWEET FRUIT OF FAITH

The Obedience of Faith
Romans 16:26

         Scripture calls the human response to God, the Author of revelation, the obedience of faith. (CATECHISM. 143) And St, Paul speaks of the obedience of faith as our first obligation. (CATECHISM, 2087) But where can one rightly make this vital human response? Where best to exercise this first obligation? St. Clare of Assisi would unhesitatingly respond: IN THE CHURCH!

St. Clare's testimony shows us how indebted the Church is to courageous women,
full of faith like her, who can give a crucial-impetus to the Church's renewal.
(Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience Catechesis)

       The whole of St. Clare's religious life can be understood as an expansion on that primary question in the ancient Baptismal rite: "What do you ask of the Church?" "FAITH!" For Clare of Assisi, the Church was THE place where the obedience of faith could flourish.

Through faith the person (learns to discern the constant presence of God
in order to cleave in charity to His mystery of communion.
(Verbi Sponse, 22)

       The early sources tell us that after his conversion St. Francis never did anything without consulting the Bishop of Assisi. Thus we can assume that he sought Bishop Guido's advice concerning the religious consecration of St. Clare, just as, years later, the Little Poor Man would bring the Bishop along for moral support when he needed to exhort Clare to moderate her austere fasts. Clare's story, like Francis', had a specific ecelesial trait: an enlightened pastor and two children of the Church who entrust themselves to his discernment, In it, institution and charism wondrously interact. Love and obedience... are rooted in this beautifid experience of the Christian community of Assist, which not only gave birth to the faith of Francis and of his "little plant,"    but also accompanied them, taking them by the hand on the path of holiness.      (Pope Benedict XVI. Letter for the 8th Centenary of the Consecration of St. Clare)


Clare willed that [her] cloistered community be fully inserted into the Church
and solidly anchoredo it with the bond of filial subjection.

(Bl, John Paul 11. Address to Priests and Religious. September 1998)


      Clare begins and ends her Rule the first Rule written by a woman to gain papal approval with an attestation of loyalty to holy Church. She specifies that candidates for her Order are to be examined concerning the Catholic faith and the sacraments of the Church and that a young woman may be received into her community only if she believes all these things, is willing to confess them faithfully and to observe them steadfastly. (Chapter 2) She knew that a solid grounding in the doctrines of the faith prepares the soul for the deep life of faith which is the cloistered contemplative vocation. The Seraphic Mother also knew that each Sister's call to the obedience of faith is likewise a call to be a co-worker of God Himself and a support of the weak members of His ineffable Body. (3rd Letter to St. Agnes of Prague)


Contemplation of God's beauty [became her] inheritance, [her] life's program,
[her] way of being present in the Church.
(BL John Paul 11)


What great spiritual fruits St. Clare's obedience of faith yielded! The Church and the world reaped a rich harvest of grace, gained an enduring example of fidelity to divine inspiration and saw the fulfillment of St. Francis' prophecy concerning the church of San Damiano outside Assisi:. Here will dwell ladies by whose renowned and holy way of living our heavenly Father will be glorified throughout all His holy Church (The Testament of St. Clare)



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