Living in the desert of Tonopah, AZ has many perks, and one of the greatest has to be the night sky. And so, after a bit of community recreation in honor of Our Holy Mother Clare (see photo to the left), some of us went outside to star gaze.
Sr. Tara was the first to spot a satellite. And Sr. John-Mark the first to see a shooting star. In her triumph, she said: “Lord, please let all three of us see the same shooting star tonight.”
The minutes ticked away as we marveled at God’s greatness and mused about the sky. Then it happened: the biggest, longest, slowest, brightest, most magnificent shooting star I have ever seen! And all three of us saw it and marveled at it, and let out triumphant screams of excitement, breaking the silence of our desert oasis. It was glorious. Really, really glorious. No doubt it was Our Lord’s gifts to Clare’s daughters on the vigil of her Feast.
O Clare, endowed with so many titles of clarity! Clear (clara) even before your conversion, clearer (clarior) in your manner of living, exceedingly clear (praeclarior) in your enclosed life, and brilliant (clarissima) in splendor after the course of your mortal life. In Clare, a clear mirror is given to the entire world.” (Pope Alexander IV, decree for the canonization of St. Clare)
When Clare was still in the womb, her mother prayed for a safe delivery of the child, and in response to this prayer heard the following words: “O lady, do not be afraid, for you will joyfully bring forth a clear light which will illumine the world.” And now, over 800 years later, not only is her star still shining brightly, but there is a whole constellation of brightly shining stars born from that light. How blessed the Sisters and I are to be in that constellation!
No two stars are alike – each one has it’s own story, it’s own history, it’s own destiny. Last night, this was quite evident as I couldn’t help but note all the varying degrees of light shining forth from the stars. Some were small and hardly visible to our bare eyes. But others were so bright that there appeared to be rays of light emanating from them. Surely St. Clare is one of those stars! One of her bright rays would have to be her love for poverty, which she zealously lived, taught, and secured for all her daughters. Another would have to be her beautiful friendship with St. Francis – calling herself his ‘little plant’. Another would have to be her love for a hidden life. Another would be her deep prayer life. But for me personally, as I reflect on the light of her life, I am struck most keenly by her bridal love and her authentically feminine strength of soul.
In the blogs to come, I hope to reflect more on Our Holy Mother Clare. Until then, keep a look out for shooting stars! And a blessed Feast Day to you all.
The story of Clare, with that of Francis, is an invitation to reflect upon the meaning of life and to seek the secret of true joy in God. It is concrete proof that those who accomplish the will of God and trust in Him not only lose nothing, but discover the real treasure which gives meaning to everything.” – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI