Because the Feast of Saint Clare this year was superseded by the Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost liturgy on August 12, many may missed her feast but they should not forget why this saint matters so much to those of us privileged to live in this society. I say "privileged" not because this society is such a model of morality or unique virtue, of course. Rather, there should be little doubt that if this society has any long-lasting moral value at all, it will be for its fertile soil for moral and spiritual greatness. Simply put, this society is a moral and spiritual wasteland on many levels, and it is often from such soil that God harvests the greatest holiness.
A classic case in point is the great Clare of Assisi. This tremendous saint exemplifies everything that this society needs. She is the antidote to the poison that is this present society. On another level, Clare is our bridge to Saint Francis of Assisi, the icon of poverty, simplicity and truly following Christ. We can marvel at the profound and powerful simplicity and holiness of the Poverello, but perhaps he seems too distant from our pathetic and inconsistent swipes at holiness. While Clare is no slouch in the holiness department, there is something about this beautiful saint that inspires us to dare approach.
A Humble Analogy
If Francis was an example of Christ brought to us nearer to our time through his holiness, love, respect for God's generous bounty, humility, affection for poverty and utter abandonment to serving Our Father, then Clare may be a more recent example of our Blessed Mother Mary.
While obviously not pretending to say that Francis and Clare were the equivalent of our Lord and our Lady, I think it fair to say that this dynamic pair from Assisi represents exactly the kind of existence that Jesus and Mary want us to practice.
In Francis and Clare we have two inspiring glimpses of what truly serving God and following in the footsteps of Christ really means. If Christ and His Blessed Mother welcome us to the eternal salvation we have been granted the opportunity to earn, then Francis and Clare warmly reach out to us in loving service as guides on that journey.
This Society Does Not "Clare" About Anything
We are both chained and freed to live in a society that represents precisely the opposite that Clare stood for. Clare rejected privilege and wealth to embrace poverty and hardship while this society does precisely the opposite. She saw material possessions as obstacles to salvation while this society sees them as salvation itself. Clare stripped herself of her earthly beauty only to be endowed with the transcendental beauty of purity, holiness and prayerful conversation with her God. This society, on the other hand, mocks spiritual beauty and feeds on temporary, superficial, fast-food beauty that is not only skin-deep, but changes with the slightest novelties. What was beautiful yesterday, is today's has been today in a neverending morose of modernity. Whereas in the spiritual realm what was so beautiful yesterday is even more beautiful today and will be forever. A beauty incomparable to human judgment and comprehension.
Clare embraced austerity and hardship while this society runs from it. She saw in dirt and want the seeds of salvation while this society sees these things as the stench of sin.
Clare demonstrated that women can achieve great things in the service of God while this society pretends that they can only do so by offending God. Clare tells women that they can serve their Creator on His terms and achieve greatness far greater than the pathetic and flimsy rewards of material, earthly fame and fortune. Conversely, this society invites women to declare their non-serviam's "I will not serve" and defy God in Eve-like fashion. If Clare gave apples to the poor, this society sours the apples while intimidating women to taste the fruits of sin, through defiance and arrogance to the detriment of themselves, their families and their children, if they were unselfish enough to have them.
When it comes to following the example of Clare, this society is clueless. The destruction of the family and the values, which Clare and every saint in Heaven strove to uphold with every fiber of their being, began when women rejected the traditional teaching of the Church to nurture and nourish as mothers. They shed their feminine dresses, hitched up their male-oriented britches and left the home in droves, many of them driven by the "equality" factor harpooned by satan with his pitchfork and served up on the NOW plate. Maybe that is why the Novus Ordo Missae in the vernacular (NOM) and NOW are so much alike. Both, built on false ideologies crafted by the devil, are on a dead-end course. Satan and his minions won't tell you that, won't tell Catholics they don't really have a true Mass, won't tell women they have lost all respect and grace when they defy God's natural purpose for creating the fair sex.
Assertive Trust and Faith in God
There was a necessity for women to leave home and work during World War II to help build weapons and machinery on the homefront to aid our troops overseas. A certain assertiveness was necessary in those times of emergency. But even that war, though necessary in Europe, was unnecessary in the Pacific arena for FDR and the political wigs of the time needed a war to fund their own pockets and interests. Not much has changed since. We're in a war again, an unnecessay one foisted on us by the fabrication of a crisis that, in reality, is all about the rich getting richer at the expense of lives. But even Iraq pales to the war where women have been at the front line of the war with the most casualties: Abortion. Add up all the wars of all time and it still pales in comparison to the fatalities claimed during the 35-year War that cries to Heaven for Vengeance.
It's all about commitment to a cause when a war breaks out. The reason why the war on abortion rages on is because so few are committed to ending it, too afraid of what others will think, too afraid of losing their status. That is why Clare stands as such a stark contradiction to today's modern woman who might drive her SUV to the beauty parlor, but won't cross the threshold to spend time with our Lord in the few tabernacles left where He is truly present. That is not liberating. They feel confined to worship a Man-God and thus fall prey to the Pantheists and New Agers who deify Mother Earth and other female deities including God the Father Himself as Her.
Such thinking would have frosted Clare's docility and brought her to a justified anger just as Christ was justified to drive the moneychangers out of the temple. It is the temple where He resides today - the holy tabernacle on traditional altars, not the Novus Ordo closets. It is this kind of awe and respect that has been lost today that has resulted in so much devastation of souls.
Clare knew the vital importance of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. It was during wartime that her bravery came to the fore. When her beloved town and people were under attack, priests slaughtered, Clare bravely demonstrated her complete trust and faith in God's divine Providence by holding The Blessed Sacrament aloft for the infidels to see and asking God to defend those who love and serve Him. How many would have such daring, courageous fortitude to do that today? Our world, our families, our Church and our eternal souls are under attack today from all sides. From across the centuries and from Heaven Clare invites us to bravely demonstrate that same complete trust and faith. The heck with the world. Why should we care what a society thinks that mocks The Blessed Sacrament and those who believe in God? It is the dauntless St. Clare who reminds us that He is our only hope and The Sacrament our only food.
Feminists wail about the subjugation and oppression of women by this world, this society and this Church. Here we see a woman demonstrating that humility is not subjugation, that service is not oppression and that faithfully serving God and Church need not be an open revolt. In her humble and loving trust of her God, Clare reaches heights that today's feminists and other pathetic fools cannot even dream of, despite and, most likely, as a consequence of, their empty protests. It was William Shakespeare who said, "me thinks thou dost protest too much," and our Lord Who said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the life" and "the truth will set you free."
A True Bride of Christ
St. Clare was a holy religious, dedicated to her rule of life, focusing her all on the Holy Trinity. While we know the ideal and purpose that nuns and sisters are supposed to serve God and His flock as faithful Brides of Christ has not changed in the true Church, we increasingly see the influence of the false New Order church where today's convents have become dens of feminism, socialism, Marxist ideology, defiance, arrogance and the occult. Increasingly, we see so-called "nuns" at the head of many groups that promote abortion and twisted interpretations of marriage and family, even encouraging divorce.
The more the world infiltrates the hearts, minds and souls of these compromised Brides of Christ they increasingly seek a divorce while pretending to be all about social justice. While feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, curing the sick and housing the homeless have their place in following Christ, none of these things can absolve winking at sin, promoting the murder of the unborn or embracing radical feminism, the occult or liberal theology, or worse, condoning perversity.
While they brag about doing the Corporal Works of Mercy, they have totally neglected the necessary Spiritual Works of Mercy.
The latter was paramount for Clare who was Sister Teresa before Saint Teresa of Avila, and her example of humble service to God and obedience to God's Word is growing dimmer by the minute in our convents. My question: who would want to emulate these women who have abandoned their vows and ideals for the fleeting fantasies the world offers?
That translates to empty convents, empty churches, empty souls.
Most people think of St. Clare as the sidekick of St. Francis, or his inspired groupie and fan, but this is a tremendously inadequate and weak characterization of a soul through which God so graced this world. That the same small town in the Italian countryside should have given us saints of the caliber of Francis and Clare, not to mention Clare's sister Agnes, is almost too much to believe. Yet, such holiness is what occurs when God's grace is combined with the fertile soil of a society yearning for His touch.
I will never forget my visit to Assisi a few years ago. One breathes Francis and Clare wherever one goes. There is a peaceful silence that is a prayer unto itself. One cannot help but be reminded of the beauty of God's creations and His generous bounty.
Perhaps I loved Assisi so much on that visit because it was such an incredible escape from a society so steeped in precisely what Francis and Clare stood against. The superficiality, materialism, arrogance, hypocrisy and selfishness that pervade our society do not pervade our vision of these two great saints who stand for so much of Christ's message.
Despite the escape that is Assisi, it is yet a call for us not to escape from the duty of serving God, of taking Him to those most in need. As wonderful as Assisi was, it too has been compromised by being forever linked to the scandalous syncretic summit in 1986 and again in 2002. You'll recall that shortly after that, a horrendous earthquake struck Assisi. Do you think God was sending a message? I'm sure Francis and Clare were trying. But those who would use Assisi to further a One World Religion for peace on man's terms, have gravely insulted Francis and Clare and every Catholic since that time. What were their efforts? In vain because now it's okay to pray with pagans and Protestants and infidels? No, it is not!
Perhaps Francis and Clare can help wake us up to that and so many other Catholic facts, to inspire us to take their lessons of service, love, obedience and humility to a world so much in need of such instruction, Catholic instruction where Church and State can never be separated. While we may not be called to beg and wear rough robes, we can at least share our blessings and avoid extravagance. While we may not be called to found religious orders, we can at least bring religious order to our lives and our loved ones. While we may not be called upon to create beautiful prayers or rebuild churches, we can at least sing our own praise to our God and rebuild a Church so much in need of laborers as we begin in the catacombs and work up until once again the magnificent structures, now occupied by those who have usurped Catholic authority, will once again be exclusively and reverently Catholic.
There is much to learn from Assisi and from its two most famous citizens, and we are privileged to live in a society so much in need of those lessons. My favorite saint is a little known one named Tarsicius who died protecting The Blessed Sacrament from a mob. Clare had that kind of love and trust in The Sacrament as well.
If Tarsicius died embracing The Sacrament he loved so well, then Clare saved embracing that very same Sacrament that meant so much to her. In a society and Church where The Sacrament increasingly means so little, these two saints stand reminding us of just how much That Sacrament really means.
A popular movie about Francis portrays Clare as some blonde beauty entranced by service to God as preached by Francis, but she was so much more than that. Simply put, in a society that does not "Clare" about anything, this great saint reminds us that we must never take our eyes off the path that Christ tred to Calvary. It is only by taking that path that we can relish the rewards of the Resurrection with Christ forever body and soul.