Friday, August 11, 2017

Companions on the journey

     None of us journeys through life on their own.  As human beings, we are social in nature, in need of interaction and the stimulation that comes from our experiences and the giving of ourselves.   As people of faith, we are even more aware of our dependence upon God and upon those that he places in our lives as companions on the journey.

     In the life of the Church, there are many examples of such companions among the saints of God.  Some are related, like the siblings Scholastica and Benedict.  Some are inspired by the lives of their founder or patron and reflect the charisms found there.  And some are rooted in friendship, like Francis of Assisi and the saint of the day, Clare of Assisi.  Clare lived from 1194 to 1253.  Her family was well to do, and she lived near the town square of the town of Assisi.  She was a friend of the young Francis, and when his "conversion" to a simple way of life brought him to the attention of the community, she was attracted not only to the person and to his message, but also to the spiritual transformation that she saw in his life.  She desired to "give up" everything and follow this simple way, running away and entering the local Benedictine Convent.  Her family rescued her and brought her back home, insisting that she give up on this fantasy, but she persisted and eventually gave up her family and status to embrace Religious Life and eventually follow her spiritual companion, Francis.  She founded the Poor Clares, a community of nuns devoted to a simple, austere life of prayer.  Famously, she defended the town of Assisi from attack by boldly brandishing the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance before the town gate and scaring off the attackers.

     Clare is buried in the church that bears her name, and her body is visible to those who come as pilgrims, since she is an incorruptible.  While Francis is skeletal, she is incorruptible - the power of this woman of faith.   To view her body and to pray at her tomb, and that of her companion, Francis, has been a true blessing in my life.   On this, her feast, we pray: Saint Clare, pray for us!   Allow is to be grateful for our companions on the journey. 

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