Sunday, April 1, 2012

Can You Believe It's Been 800 Years Already?

In the preceding entry, I provided my favorite (at this point in my life) examination of conscience. Then this past Friday we had our Lenten Reconciliation Service at the Motherhouse. Fr. Jadin read the introduction and I loved it, so I thought I'd share it with all of you:

As we pray with Scripture, we become more and more convinced of God's overwhelming love. Even if our motives are self-centered, God says, "I love you." In spite of our sinfulness, God still says, "I love you no matter what you've done.
Regardless of our failures, God continues to love us with an everlasting love. We must grow in knowing Him as a kind, loving and forgiving Father who welcomes us with open arms. 
When we are convinced that we are loved, only then can we be honest and unafraid in looking within ourselves. When we know we are accepted, we need not be anything less than our own selves. We can live in freedom and sincerity.
Today, we had a special evening prayer commemorating a response to this love of God. The Franciscans of the Green Bay diocese gathered for the 800th anniversary (octocentenary) of St. Clare of Assisi's initiation into the religious life.

The story began at Palm Sunday mass. Everyone else grabbed a palm branch. Not Clare. The bishop noticed and walked over to hand her a palm. The Mass continued like nothing had happened. One of our Sisters told us that this may have been the Bishop's secret signal to her: that everyone was ready for her and tonight would be the night of her escape and her consecration to the Lord.

Regina (our postulant) played the role of Clare, and did an impressive pantomine of the daring escape from her home. Some OFM Friars played the role of the lesser brothers. Sisters from different Congregations took part in the procession and prayer. There were also Secular Franciscans and Associates present.

Since no Poor Clares could be present for the evening prayer, I found a nice video so they could represent, too. (I am sure they are having an enjoyable evening in the cloister!)

I have heard it said that if it wasn't for St. Clare, the Franciscan order would not have been able to survive. I am so grateful for this strong, brave, and deeply spiritual woman!

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