A joyfully Franciscan view of Catholic life, inspired by St. Clare (Santa Chiara) of Assisi!

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Chiara Offreduccio (St. Clare) was born in 1194. It is said that when her mother had Chiara in her womb, an angel appeared to her and said, "your child will be a light that will illuminate the world!" Hence, her mother named the child Chiara, which means "light. As G.K. Chesterton put it, St. Clare was a romantic figure just like Juliet was. However, instead of running away from her family in order to be with an earthly man, Clare gave up everything and ran away from her family for the love of her Savior!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

St. Francis Countdown: Francis and Friendship

Thomas of Celano tells a story about Francis' availability for and generosity in friendship. It is included here because it illustrates the importance and gratuitousness of true friendship. Brother Riccerio imagines himself unworthy of Francis' love but discovers not only that he is already loved deeply by the Poverello, but, also that such love is neither reward nor recompense, but rather pure gift.

A certain brother, Riccerio by name, a noble by birth but even more noble in his conduct, one who loved God…was led by a pious spirit and a great desire to attain and possess perfectly the favour of holy father Francis; but he feared greatly that St. Francis despised him for some secret reason and therefore made him a stranger to the favour of his affection. That brother thought, in as much as he was a God-fearing man, that whomever St. Francis loved with an intimate love would merit to be worthy of the divine favour; but on the other hand, he to whom St. Francis did not show himself well disposed and kind would, he thought, incur the anger of the heavenly judge. These things that brother revolved in his mind and spoke about frequently within himself, but he did not reveal the secret of his thoughts to anyone.

For the rest, when on a certain day the blessed father was praying in his cell and brother Riccerio had come to that place, disturbed by his usual thoughts, the holy man of God became aware of his coming and of what was going on in his mind. Immediately he sent for him and said to him, "Let no temptation disturb you, son; let no thought exasperate you; for you are very dear to me…Come to me with confidence whenever you wish and talk with me with great familiarity." The brother was filled with the greatest admiration at this; and as a result was even more reverent; and so did he begin to open wide in his trust in the mercy of God.

(Celano, XVIII, 46-47)


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