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Prayer with Clare

August 11, 2020

“He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.” Psalm 102:17

It’s Day 149, and we are in a week full of commemorations. While these devotions have not always noted or focused on the people so commemorated, this week’s are all interesting to me. Yesterday, we commemorated St. Lawrence. Today, St. Clare.

Clare of Assisi was the daughter of a wealthy merchant. It is said that as a child she was devoted to prayer. She refused to be married at the age of fifteen and, having been influenced by the preaching of Francis, escaped from home at the age of eighteen. On Palm Sunday of the year 1212, Clare exchanged her gown for a plain dress and veil.

Working in collaboration with Francis, Clare was joined by other women. In time, they came to be called the Order of Poor Ladies (today they are known as the Order of Saint Clare). Their communal life was shaped by poverty and seclusion. They observed almost total silence. Their lives were centered in prayer. In 1216, Clare accepted the title of abbess, a role she filled until her death in 1253. When Pope Gregory IX offered her a dispensation so that she could own property, Clare replied: “I need to be absolved from my sins, but not from the obligation of following Christ.”

While few of us are called to lives of seclusion and poverty, Clare’s life inspires us nonetheless. It is said that she twice saved her community by praying for it. Yesterday, two storms swept through our community. The first was the violence and looting in the city; the second, a derecho that cause widespread damage (I didn’t even know the word “derecho” until yesterday; 2020 just keeps on giving). It was a good day to be in prayer for our world and our city, for one another and ourselves. Of course, as Clare reminds us, its always a good day to be in prayer.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God who hears, thank you for the night of rest and for the gift of this day. We pray for Chicago, for peace and for lasting change. We pray for those still reeling from yesterday’s storm. We pray for your church, that we may know what is most important and commit our lives to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Detail of St. Clare from a fresco by Simone Martini, 1322-1326 (public domain).

From → COVID-19

One Comment
  1. Susan W Allen permalink

    I was on the Eisenhower during the storm and prayers and singing hymns got me safely home. God is powerful!

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