Saint Clare, Pray for Us
Readings: 1st: Ez 2:8–3:4; Ps 118; Gos: Mt 18:1-5.10.12-14
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today, the Tuesday of the nineteenth week of ordinary time, the Church honors Saint Clare, Virgin.
Clare was born in Assisi, Italy on July 16, 1194. She was the first woman to practice the life of entire poverty as taught by St. Francis. According to the Breviary: “Clare distributed all her possessions among the poor, and fled from the noise of the world. Later, she sought refuge in a country chapel.”
After governing her community for forty-two years, she founded the Order of Poor Clares, in a miserable house outside Assisi. She was joined by her fourteen-year-old sister. Later, her mother and other noble ladies joined her order. They went barefoot, observed perpetual abstinence, constant silence, and perfect poverty.
After much service, Clare took ill and suffered for twenty-eight years. During this difficult period of her life, the Holy Eucharist was her only support. She died on August 11, 1253, and was canonized two years after her death.
Today’s gospel presents us a very interesting episode. Instead of reflecting on all that Christ was teaching them, his disciples were busy debating and arguing about, “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Their minds were set on the “government” they imagined that Christ had come to establish. This is what happens in any society, family or religious community where there is personal ambition.
Indeed, there is nothing wrong in having a good ambition. However, when it overshadows the common good, it becomes selfish, dangerous and destructive. The result includes; cold wars, gossips, indifference, aggression, hatred, and even threat to life. All these, come at the expense of the common good. Wherever they exist, there can be no progress and peace.
So, by using a child as an example in today’s gospel, Christ teaches us that we have to become like children in order to be great. Of course, this does not mean being childish. Rather, it means being child-like. It means living our lives in humble service to God and to others.
Finally, to be great is to be able to accommodate, welcome, and work with others in harmony as children do. It means the ability to serve others, rather than being served. It means a humble sacrifice.
Saint Clare, Pray for Us
Peace be with you.