HOMILY ON THE MEMORIAL OF ST. CLARE
THEME: THE IMITATION OF CHRIST
BY: Fr. A. N. Abiagom, CM.
HOMILY FOR THURSDAY AUGUST 11 2022
The Memorial of St. Clare is so dear to my heart because I was privileged to serve as an assistant chaplain for three (3) years to a Monastery of the Poor Clare Sisters in Nigeria after my priestly ordination.
St. Clare according to history, was from a noble and rich Italian family. She was the eldest daughter of her parents. She once attended a retreat preached by St. Francis of Assisi and the fruit of the retreat instilled in her the ardent desire to dedicate her life in total humility and love for Jesus Christ.
Her decision led her to removing her royal gown to wearing a plain robe. Her father’s desire to forcefully remove her from the first monastery where she lived, led her to be moved to a farther monastery where she could be more focused in serving the Lord. In all these, St. Francis of Assisi helped her in following the way of the Lord. At a later time, even her younger sister Agnes joined her in the monastery.
St. Clare imitated Christ who humbled himself in humility and became poor in order to save us by his death on the Cross. She left the glories of wealth, honour and prestige, to become a poor soul whose only desire is to love Jesus and allow his light become radiant in her life in relation to others in her religious vocation.
The gospel reading (Mt 18:21-19:1) invites us to imitate Jesus by forgiving those who offend us. The parable of Jesus calls us to be unlimited in forgiveness. On the Cross, Jesus prayed: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). If we think those who offend us know what they are doing, it may be difficult for us to forgive them.
When we don’t forgive, we become sick ourselves. Forgiveness brings freedom not just to the offender but to the offended. Like in the first reading (Ez 12:1-12), if we become stubborn and refuse to be obedient to the invitation of God to be loving and forgiving, unforgiveness is capable of leading us into exile (the restlessness of the soul).
Through the intercession of St. Clare, we pray for the grace to live in the imitation of Christ.
N.b: The religious life is also a vocation to which young ladies are called. Perhaps you are having the kind of passion that St. Clare had in following Christ all her life, you may ask for guidance on how to go about responding to this call.