Monday, August 11, 2014



I look up and I behold the Lord,
Clare says to me,
“Gaze upon Him, consider Him, contemplate Him,
I put this more simply:
behold, hold, enfold.

I behold the Lord
I see His outstretched hands
I see the blood from His wounds.
I see the love in the eyes of Jesus.
I see His gracious acceptance of me.

Jesus has come out of the tomb –
He still has the scars,
but now they are glorious,
with the glory of heaven.
Still looking at the Lord,
I reach out and touch Him.
I hold the Lord – and I am held in His love.

Love enfolds
It is no longer I that live,
but Christ that lives in me.
I am secure in the Lord.
I can look out, now, through the Lord’s eyes.
I can see the world as He created it, in His mercy,
I can see my sisters and brothers with His love,
and I can worship the Father through the eyes of the Son
in the Love of the Holy Spirit.


Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin

EZ 1:2-5, 24-28C

On the fifth day of the fourth month of the fifth year,
that is, of King Jehoiachin’s exile,
The word of the LORD came to the priest Ezekiel,
the son of Buzi,
in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.—
There the hand of the LORD came upon me.

As I looked, a stormwind came from the North,
a huge cloud with flashing fire enveloped in brightness,
from the midst of which (the midst of the fire)
something gleamed like electrum.
Within it were figures resembling four living creatures
that looked like this: their form was human.

Then I heard the sound of their wings,
like the roaring of mighty waters,
like the voice of the Almighty.
When they moved, the sound of the tumult was like the din of an army.
And when they stood still, they lowered their wings.

Above the firmament over their heads
something like a throne could be seen,
looking like sapphire.
Upon it was seated, up above, one who had the appearance of a man.
Upward from what resembled his waist I saw what gleamed like electrum;
downward from what resembled his waist I saw what looked like fire;
he was surrounded with splendor.
Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day
was the splendor that surrounded him.
Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights;
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.

Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys,

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.

Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.

And he has lifted up the horn of his people.
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him.

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.

MT 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,

“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”

And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes,” he said.

When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him,

“What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?”

When he said, “From foreigners,”

Jesus said to him,

“Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up.
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you.”


August 11

St. Clare (1194-1253)

One of the more sugary movies made about Francis of Assisi (October 4) pictures Clare as a golden-haired beauty floating through sun-drenched fields, a sort of one-woman counterpart to the new Franciscan Order.

The beginning of her religious life was indeed movie material. 
Having refused to marry at 15, she was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis. 
He became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide.

At 18, she escaped one night from her father’s home, was met on the road by friars carrying torches, and in the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula received a rough woolen habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, and sacrificed the long tresses to Francis’ scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent, which her father and uncles immediately stormed in rage. She clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair and remained adamant.

End of movie material. Sixteen days later her sister Agnes joined her. Others came. They lived a simple life of great poverty, austerity and complete seclusion from the world, according to a Rule which Francis gave them as a Second Order (Poor Clares). Francis obliged her under obedience at age 21 to accept the office of abbess, one she exercised until her death.

The nuns went barefoot, slept on the ground, ate no meat and observed almost complete silence. (Later Clare, like Francis, persuaded her sisters to moderate this rigor: “Our bodies are not made of brass.”) The greatest emphasis, of course, was on gospel poverty. They possessed no property, even in common, subsisting on daily contributions. When even the pope tried to persuade her to mitigate this practice, she showed her characteristic firmness: “I need to be absolved from my sins, 
but I do not wish to be absolved from the obligation of following Jesus Christ.”

Contemporary accounts glow with admiration of her life in the convent of San Damiano in Assisi. She served the sick, waited on table, washed the feet of the begging nuns. She came from prayer, it was said, with her face so shining it dazzled those about her. She suffered serious illness for the last 27 years of her life. Her influence was such that popes, 
cardinals and bishops often came to consult her—she never left the walls of San Damiano.

Francis always remained her great friend and inspiration. 
She was always obedient to his will and to the great ideal of gospel life which he was making real.

A well-known story concerns her prayer and trust. She had the Blessed Sacrament placed on the walls of the convent when it faced attack by invading Saracens. “Does it please you, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children I have nourished with your love? I beseech you, dear Lord, protect these whom I am now unable to protect.” 
To her sisters she said, “Don’t be afraid. Trust in Jesus.” 
The Saracens fled.


O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

The Lord is the king of virgins:
come, let us adore him.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

The Lord is the king of virgins:
come, let us adore him.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

The Lord is the king of virgins:
come, let us adore him.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts forever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

The Lord is the king of virgins:
come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord is the king of virgins:
come, let us adore him.


O God of truth, prepare our minds
To hear and heed your holy word;
Fill every heart that longs for you
With your mysterious presence, Lord.
Almighty Father, with your Son
And blessed Spirit, hear our prayer:
Teach us to love eternal truth
And seek its freedom everywhere.

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Psalm 49 (50)
True reverence for the Lord

Our God comes openly,
he keeps silence no longer.

The Lord, the God of gods has spoken:
he has summoned the whole earth, from east to west.
God has shone forth from Zion in her great beauty.
Our God will come, and he will not be silent.
Before him, a devouring fire;
around him, a tempest rages.
He will call upon the heavens above, and on the earth, to judge his people.
“Bring together before me my chosen ones, who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.”
The heavens will proclaim his justice; for God is the true judge.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Our God comes openly,
he keeps silence no longer.

Psalm 49 (50)

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Listen, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
I will not reproach you with your sacrifices,
for your burnt offerings are always before me.
But I will not accept calves from your houses,
nor goats from your flocks.
For all the beasts of the forests are mine,
and in the hills, a thousand animals.
All the birds of the air – I know them.
Whatever moves in the fields – it is mine.
If I am hungry, I will not tell you;
for the whole world is mine, and all that is in it.
Am I to eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer a sacrifice to God – a sacrifice of praise;
to the Most High, fulfil your vows.
Then you may call upon me in the time of trouble:
I will rescue you, and you will honor me.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 49 (50)

I want love, not sacrifice;
knowledge of God, not holocausts.

To the sinner, God has said this:
Why do you recite my statutes?
Why do you dare to speak my covenant?
For you hate what I teach you,
and reject what I tell you.
The moment you saw a thief, you joined him;
you threw in your lot with adulterers.
You spoke evil with your mouth,
and your tongue made plans to deceive.
Solemnly seated, you denounced your own brother;
you poured forth hatred against your own mother’s son.
All this you did, and I was silent;
so you thought that I was just like you.
But I will reprove you –
I will confront you with all you have done.
Understand this, you who forget God;
lest I tear you apart, with no-one there to save you.
Whoever offers up a sacrifice of praise gives me true honour;
whoever follows a sinless path in life will be shown the salvation of God.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

I want love, not sacrifice;
knowledge of God, not holocausts.

Listen, my people, and I shall speak.
– I am God, your God.

First Reading
Hosea 14:2-10

The Lord says this:

Israel, come back to the Lord your God;
your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.
Provide yourself with words
and come back to the Lord.
Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away
so that we may have happiness again
and offer you our words of praise.
Assyria cannot save us,
we will not ride horses any more,
or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made,
for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’
– I will heal their disloyalty,
I will love them with all my heart,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will fall like dew on Israel.
He shall bloom like the lily,
and thrust out roots like the poplar,
his shoots will spread far;
he will have the beauty of the olive
and the fragrance of Lebanon.
They will come back to live in my shade;
they will grow corn that flourishes,
they will cultivate vines
as renowned as the wine of Helbon.
What has Ephraim to do with idols any more
when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?
I am like a cypress ever green,
all your fruitfulness comes from me.
Let the wise man understand these words.
Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.
For the ways of the Lord are straight,
and virtuous men walk in them,
but sinners stumble.


I will heal their disloyalty;
I will love them with all my heart,
for my anger has turned from them.

I will pardon the blood-guilt yet to be pardoned,
says the Lord,
and here in Zion the Lord will have his dwelling-place,
for my anger has turned from them.

Second Reading
A letter of St Clare to Blessed Agnes of Prague

Consider the poverty, humility and charity of Christ

Happy the soul to whom it is given to attain this life with Christ, to cleave with all one’s heart to him whose beauty all the heavenly hosts behold forever, whose love inflames our love, the contemplation of whom is our refreshment, whose graciousness is our delight, whose gentleness fills us to overflowing, whose remembrance makes us glow with happiness, whose fragrance revives the dead, the glorious vision of whom will be the happiness of all the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem. 
For he is the brightness of eternal glory, the splendour of eternal light, the mirror without spot.

Look into that mirror daily, O queen and spouse of Jesus Christ, and ever study therein your countenance, that within and without you may adorn yourself with all manner of virtues, and clothe yourself with the flowers and garments that become the daughter and chaste spouse of the most high King. In that mirror are reflected poverty, holy humility and ineffable charity, as, 
with the grace of God, you may perceive.

Gaze first upon the poverty of Jesus, placed in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. What marvellous humility! What astounding poverty! The King of angels, Lord of heaven and earth, is laid in a manger. Consider next the humility, the blessed poverty, the untold labours and burdens which he endured for the redemption of the human race. Then look upon the unutterable charity with which he willed to suffer on the tree of the cross and to die thereon the most shameful kind of death. This mirror, Christ himself, fixed upon the wood of the cross, bade the passers-by consider these things: ‘All you who pass this way look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow.’ With one voice and one mind let us answer him as he cries and laments, saying in his own words: ‘I will be mindful and remember and my soul shall languish within me.’ Thus, O queen of the heavenly King, 
may you ever burn more ardently with the fire of this love.

Contemplate further the indescribable joys, the wealth and unending honours of the King, and sighing after them with great longing, cry to him: ‘Draw me after you: we shall run to the fragrance of your perfumes, O heavenly bridegroom.’ I will run and faint not until you bring me into the wine cellar, until your left hand be under my head and your right hand happily embrace me and you kiss me with the kiss of your mouth.

In such contemplation be mindful of your poor little mother and know that I have inscribed your happy memory indelibly on the tablets of my heart, holding you dearer than all others.


Though my heart and my flesh fail,
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

I have thrown everything else away as worthless,
so that I may gain Christ,
and be completely united with him;
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

Let us pray.

Lord God, in your mercy
you led Saint Clare to the love of poverty.
Help us, by her intercession,
to follow Christ in poverty of spirit,
so that, in the kingdom of heaven,
we may see you in your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.