ST. CLARE and LOVE CRUCIFIED
St. Francis directs St. Clare’s footsteps before the Crucifix. “Toward what is he directing her? To ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified.’ She intuits the deep meaning of this short walk. She has but to fasten her gaze on the compelling eyes of the crucified One and experience the look of infinite compassion; she has only to mark the lowly yet glorious majesty of the naked, blood-stained figure and she finds the wealth of her life.”
We, the Missionaries & Mothers of the Cross, must also keep our gaze upon Love Crucified so that He becomes the “wealth of our life” and we become transformed, through the Holy Spirit, into the One we contemplate.
St. Clare wrote, “Contemplate the ineffable charity which led Him to suffer on the wood of the Cross and die thereon the most shameful kind of death. Therefore, that Mirror, suspended on the wood of the Cross, urged those who passed by to consider, saying ‘ All you who pass by the way, look and see if there is any suffering like my suffering.’ Remembering this over and over leaves my soul downcast within me. From this point… let yourself be inflamed more strongly with the ardor of charity!”
“Transform your whole being entirely by contemplation into the image of the Godhead Itself so that you too may feel what his friends feel as they taste the hidden sweetness which God himself has reserved from the beginning for those who love him.”
The book states, “Her woman’s heart had met and responded to living love. Jesus was not simply an admirable example to be imitated but a vital life force that daily challenged and changed her.”
The vital force of Love Crucified is what we, the LCC, are called to witness to the world, by ourselves becoming One with Love Crucified. This is the new evangelization that will awaken and transform souls.
THE HIDDEN SUFFERINGS OF HOLY MOTHERS BRING GRACE TO THE WORLD
Both, St. Clare and St. Francis mother’s, were holy women who endured great sufferings in their families with heroic love. Many do not realize that God used the hidden sufferings of these holy women to bring to the world two great saints.
“Over this, Madonna Pica agonizes. She loves both her men. She understands them both. And in her heart she forgives them both. Like many another woman, she silently bears the pain of seeing her great loves oppose and wound one another. Few realize that the deepest wound of all is in the hearts of these valiant women.” (p.55)
“Clare lovingly embraces the ideal which Francis has revealed to her. For him, poverty is a great lady whom he will serve with knightly devotion. He will defend her good name, make her excellence known to the world that despises and fears her, and restore her to the place of honor she once held in the Church.” (p.89)
“For Clare, with typical feminine instinct, poverty is not so much a lady that she will serve but a companion of Christ whom she will become. Someday she will write: O God centered poverty whom the Lord Jesus Christ… Condescended to embrace before all else!”
“Clare’s ideal of serving the Lord in others is actually an expression of her poverty. She was fascinated by the Great King of heaven who ‘made himself poor, although he was rich, in order that, by his poverty, [we] might become rich.’(2 Cor 8:9) She saw this poverty and renunciation of Jesus as a way of putting himself at the service of others.” “For the Son of Man also has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk 10:45) (p.136)
“Poverty is a renunciation of self, a total emptying like that of our Lord’s in order to be filled with the Spirit of love, the Spirit of God, and to become an instrument of grace through which this Spirit will be able to achieve the happiness of our neighbor.” (p.137)
“Poverty, humility, and service are so bound up with each other that they become a single expression of a soul striving to be like Jesus.” (p.137)
The Missionaries of the Cross (priests) are called to live poverty with great perfection so that they can reveal the face of Love Crucified to the world. Today poverty is despised and feared by some in the clergy; the Missionaries of the Cross are called to restore poverty among their brother priests. Obedience, poverty and chastity must be loved and lived by every priest, so that they can mirror the Person of Jesus Christ to the world.
The Mothers of the Cross are called to live the spirit of poverty and a life of simplicity so that we can mirror our Blessed Mother to the world through holy motherhood. The simplicity of the Mothers of the Cross will serve to inspire the Missionaries of the Cross and vice versa.
“Peace, poverty, and prayer Clare seeks to implement in this little place to which Francis has led her. What will cause these to flourish, however, is not her austerity so much as her joy. Her delighted laughter often lilts through the stone passages of San Damiano. She and Agnes find something to rejoice over in every circumstance…” (p. 90)
“The Poor Ladies, despite the hardships that they endure, always seem to be overflowing with joy. It radiates from their faces.” (p.91)
As Tessie always reminds us, “My cross, my joy”. To live united to Jesus Crucified must be the greatest joy of our life. It is the joy of the Cross radiating from our lives that will touch the hearts of others.
“… the power and tenderness in her hands flowed from a compassion rooted in the veins of prayer.” (p. 95)
“Prayer occupied the first place in Clare’s plan of life.”
“Very soon she discovered how conducive are the night hours for intimate converse with God. Sister Pacifica asserts, that often Clare passed the nights in vigil and prayer. She added that she would lie for a long time most humbly prostrated on the earth.”
“When she returned with joy from holy prayer, she brought with her burning words from the fire of the altar of the Lord, which enkindled the hearts of the sisters.”
“She and her sisters were chosen by God through Francis to create a work of beauty, not in stone and mortar, marble and glass, but in ceaseless prayer and joyous penance. Their edifice was to glow with a thousand lives silently burning on the altar of holocaustal love.”
Our union with Love Crucified can only come about through a life centered in prayer and the Eucharist. As we gaze at the Eucharistic Face of Jesus we will come to see through the eyes of our heart and experience in our soul Love Crucified.
SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD, THE HIDDEN FORCE BEHIND THE PREACHERS
During the time of St. Francis and St. Clare there is another great saint, St. Dominic. God uses the hidden force of spiritual motherhood to sustain and strengthen His holy preachers.
In 1206 Dominic Guzman requested permission from Pope Innocent to preach to heretics. “Dominic had grasped the essence of Innocent’s vision of evangelical men living poor and blameless lives, who preached the truth with eloquence, and lived that truth with integrity.”
“At Prouil in France, Dominic established a convent of nuns to be the center for his activities. The nuns by prayer would supplicate the power of grace that must accompany the preachers.”
“Alongside the men of this turbulent thirteenth century stands a remarkable array of valiant women whose contribution will prove to be as formative of the age as that of their male contemporaries. In Assisi, Clare is beginning to bring the flame of Francis Bernardone’s ideals to a white heat by applying the bellows of contemplative prayer.”
During our turbulent times, God desires to renew the Church through the renewal of His beloved sons, His priests. It is during this time of darkness that the Missionaries of the Cross are being called to go out and preach the Gospel of the Cross to priests, in order to raise up our Lord’s army of holy priests, that will usher in the reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and through Mary, a new Pentecost. God desires for His beloved sons (priests) to be Love Crucified in the world, so that the world may come to know the love of Jesus Christ through every priest.
The lay Missionaries of the Cross are called to strengthen the family by renewing the domestic priests in Jesus Crucified.
The hidden force behind these missionary preachers will be the Mothers of the Cross. It is the love in suffering of these simple and generous mothers that God will use to fuel His holy preachers and lay missionaries.
The Mothers of the Cross is part of the hidden force of Spiritual Motherhood that the Holy Spirit is setting aflame for the renewal of the Church through her priests.
St. Francis wrote: “Lord, my brothers are called minors so that they will not presume to become greater. Their vocation teaches them to remain in a lowly station and to follow the footsteps of the humble Christ, so that in the end they may be exalted above the rest in the eyes of the saints. If [he continued with the wisdom born of holiness]you want them to bear fruit for the Church of God, hold them and preserve them in the station to which they have been called, and bring them back to a lowly station, even if they are unwilling. I pray you, therefore, Father, that you by no means permit them to rise to any prelacy lest they become prouder rather than poorer and grow arrogant toward the rest.”
From the beginning of our small community of Love Crucified, God has revealed to us that we must be marked by HUMILITY. We must be known by our humility, because Jesus Christ in His humility became man and continues to be present to us hidden in the Eucharist. It is through humility that our weakness and nothingness will always be before us, so that we are constantly aware of our TOTAL DEPENDENCE ON GOD FOR EVERYTHING. It is through humility that we will be protected from the snares of satan.
The Mothers of the Cross are called to be the “carpet” that sustains God’s army of holy priests through our love in suffering, united as one, with our Mother of the Cross. The Missionaries of the Cross are called to lead through their humility as the Suffering Servant.
LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
“Francis’s Rule, as would Clare’s, flowed out of their lived experience of their communities. They did not first write a rule and then set out to find people to live it. On the contrary, as men and women flocked to them, drawn by the irresistibility of the pure gospel life, they simply allowed the Spirit to guide the practical development of the community’s life. Their norm was the gospel.” (p.184)
The LCC is led by the Holy Spirit. We are His; we live our consecration “Totus Tuus”. Therefore, we place our hands in His, like small children, and allow Him to lead us wherever He wishes. We are completely open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as God wishes to bestow them upon us, for the greater glory of the Father and the salvation of souls. Father Jordi Rivero is our Spiritual Father that leads, guides and forms us in the Holy Spirit.
The community & mission of Love Crucified is not ours but God’s, therefore, we will allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and define us as a community. In complete obedience to Jesus Christ, we will move forward with great fortitude and zeal when He opens a door for us.
St. Francis and St. Clare lived their life in continuous praise to the “one true God, who is the fullness of good, all good, every good, the true and supreme good, who alone is good, merciful and gentle, delectable and sweet… wherever they are in every place, at every hour, at every time of day, …continually loving, honoring, adoring, serving, praising and blessing, glorifying and exalting, magnifying and giving thanks to the most high and supreme God,… the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…” (p.184)
As Missionaries and Mothers of the Cross we are also called to live our days in praise and thanksgiving to our Lord, Jesus Christ. We are called to thank Him continuously and our Sorrowful Blessed Mother for their interior Cross and their suffering on Calvary. We are called to praise and thank Him for all the souls that never thank Him.