Clare was the noble and lofty tree bringing forth
Living faith "works through charity," the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH declares. Faith and charity require each other, wrote Pope Benedict XVI. Well before either of these modern observations, St. Paul declared unequivocally: If I have faith enough to move mountains...but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Car, 13;2
THE SWEET FRUIT OF FAITH
St. Clare of Assisi offers a compelling example of someone who allowed her whole life to be shaped by faith working through love. Even in her parental home, she was so known for her great generosity to the poor. that she could say with St. James, I. by my works, will show you my faith. James 2:18 Her entrance into religious life and her embrace of evangelical poverty, far from diminishing her faith-shaped charity, only opened out new horizons for her love of neighbor.
Why are faith and love so inextricably linked in Christian life?
Because through faith, we can recognize the Face of the risen Lord in those who ask for our love. It is faith that enables us to recognize Chris. and it is His love that impels us to assist Him whenever He becomes our neighbor along the journey of life.
Pope Benedict XVI, Poria Pidei,14
Christians are people who have been conquered by Christ's love and; accordingly,
under the influence of that love, they are Profoundly open to loving their neighbors in concrete ways.
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for Lent 2013
Faith causes us
to embrace the command of our Lord and Master;
As someone preeminently conquered by the love of Christ, the Lady Clare was profoundly open to the many concrete, practical ways that each day holds for letting one's faith work through love. The Sisters who lived with her told how the Seraphic Mother would serve them at table, wash their feet and care for them when they were ill, St. Clare was alert to her Sisters' spiritual needs as well, offering to the weak or weary or tempted the support of an encouraging word, a listening ear, a loving heart.
St. Clare's faith worked through a love that extended far beyond the boundaries of her cloister. Her prayers worked miracles of healing, deliverance and conversion, Her spiritual support was sought by priests, bishops, cardinals and even the Pope himself When she became chronically ill, faith enabled Clare to see this cross as an invitation to immerse herself even more deeply in love for Jesus Crucified, allowing Him to make fruitful her spiritual offerings for His Mystical Body, the Church.
In her Testament, St. Clare wrote:
Loving one another with the love of
Christ, may you show forth outwardly by your actions the love which you
have within you. Faith working through love
led her to the heights of Christian sanctity but also formed a religious
governed by the love of God and by prayer, by caring for others and by
Pope Benedict XVI, Letter for
the 8th Centenary of the Consecration of St. Clare Her witness to
faith working through love
if we open
ourselves to God's love, we allow Him to live in us and to bring us to
love with Him, in Him and like Him; only then does our faith
become truly active through love; only then does He abide in us.