Clare was the noble and lofty tree bringing forth
THE SWEET FRUIT OF FAITH
Increase our faith! This is the all seasons' prayer of believers, faced with the loftiness of our Lord's teaching and the weakness of fallen human nature. Lord, increase our faith, we pray. Increase our faith in Your goodness, in Your mercy, in Your love, in the power of Your grace to heal and transform. Enable us to yield a harvest through perseverance. er. Luke 8:11
Believers, so St. Augustine tells us, "strengthen themselves by believing."
Pope Benedict XVI I, Porta Fidel, 7
St. Clare of Assisi is someone who strengthened herself by believing. She had boundless trust in the Word of God and in the teachings of His Church. She had a realistic sense of the greatness of her vocation and of her human limitations. Reflecting on the weakness of some others which we kept on fearing in ourselves is how Clare described her humble trepidation on the road of holy perseverance. (cf. Testament of St. Clare)
Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man,
The Seraphic Mother knew that perseverance in faith is a gift, Blessed are they to whom it is given to walk on through (the narrow gate] and persevere even to the end, she wrote in her Testament. But faith is a gift that needs to be guarded and exercised. If St. Clare mandated that those entering her religious family should be willing to confess faithfully and observe steadfastly the tenets of the Catholic faith, Rule, Chapter 4 she also sought to provide her Sisters with means of growing, strengthening and deepening the faith which they professed.
To live, grow and persevere in the faith
until the end we must nourish it with the word of God;
The early sources tell how St. Clare gathered her Sisters together for daily instruction in the spiritual life. They relate how she would provide for her children, through dedicated preachers, the nourishment of the Word of God. Legend of St. Clare, 37 Ever eager to hear God's Word expounded and Church doctrine explained, St. Clare also taught her Sisters how to glean good from any sermon, in order to deepen their prayer and strengthen their faith. Most importantly, she showed them by her own example what it means to live by faith in times of trial, uncertainty and suffering, as well as how to bring forth the fruits of faith through good works and constant prayer.
Only through believing does faith grow and become stronger; there is no other possibility for possessing certitude with regard to one's Gift apart from self-abandonment, in a continuous crescendo, into the hands of a love that seems to grow constantly because it has its origin in God. Pope Benedict XVI, Porta Fidel, 7
Increase our faith! We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or that light be kept hidden, Pope Benedict XVI Porta Fidel, 3 St. Clare of Assisi would agree. To us who have been granted the gift of faith in its catholic and apostolic fullness, she says: What you hold, may you always hold; what you do, may you always do and never abandon. But with swift pace, light step and unstumbling feet, may you go forward securely, joyfully and swiftly on the path of prudent happiness — the path which leads to the goal of faith, life on high in Christ Jesus. 2nd Letter to St. Agnes; Phil. 3:14
Lord, increase our faith!