15 May 2011

Saint Clare and Eucharistic Living

Today the Church celebrates what is commonly called "Good Shepherd Sunday," a designation that will seem obvious to all who listen to the Gospel passage proclaimed today in each of the three cycles of readings.

It is Christ the Good Shepherd who willing laid down his life for his sheep.  It is this example that he calls us to imitate, to lay down our lives so that others might live.

The way in which we are called to do so varies from person to person and largely depends upon the vocation to which the Lord has called us.

After the morning Mass I sat down to read an older article by Ilia Delio, OSF titled, "Clare of Assisi and the Body of Christ" (The Cord, 55.4 [2005], 105-161).

In the article, she reflects on the important incident in Saint Clare's life involving the Saracens.  After noting that, like Christ, Saint Clare was willing to lay down her life for her sisters, Sister Ilia asks the following poignant questions:
I wonder if terrorists came to our door today and threatened to attack us would we hold up the Eucharist as the power of protection [as Clare did] or prostrate ourselves in prayer or delcare ourselves hostages for the sake of our brothers and sisters?  Or would we retaliate in self-defence and kill if necessary?  What kind of spirituality impels one to offer up one's life for the sake of others rather than to defend oneself against the enemy?
The answer to this last question, she suggests, is one centered on the cross of Jesus Christ which Clare sees as "the mirror of our humanity and the place of our transformation in God" and in leading a Eucharistic life.

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