A day of Recollection for the “Newly Forming” Secular Franciscans here at St. Francis of Assisi began with Morning Prayer in church.
The topic of our day was “Prayer and Clare”. Each of the Members of our “Newly Forming” group over the summer had read a book on the life of St. Clare and were eager to spend the day with her. With her feast upon us we had much to share.
“Totally love Him who gave Himself totally for love of you” was a recurring theme as we cosider our response to God’s initiative of love towards us.
Pondering who Secular Franciscans (OFS) are and where prayer fits into our lives we reflected on the words of Teresa Baker OFS, “Before all else, Secular Franciscans are called to be persons of prayer – persons who have their minds and hearts set on the things of God while working to accomplish them in this world. This is the basis of their vocation.”
Sister Annette shared with the group that the call of St. Clare and St. Francis was characterized by a powerful awareness of; being called, being loved and being gifted. Their spiritual focus and ultimate happiness was their intimate relationship with the poor and crucified Christ. St. Clare in her writings, suggests a visual reading of Christ crucified – Gaze on the image of the Crucified Christ, Consider Him, Contemplate Him as you desire to Imitate Him.
Thinking over St. Clare’s words we looked at article 8 of the OFS Rule where we read; “Let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all they are and do”. As our day of prayer continued on we saw how all prayer begins because God wants to be with us. God is always offering this invitation to us, but we have the strange idea that it is we who come to God. Similar to the rooster who thinks it is he who makes the sun rise in the morning with his crowing. Would the sun rise if he didn’t crow? So with us it is God who awakens the desire for prayer within us, not we who initiate this relationship. In quiet we recognize His “voice” and respond to Him. The ending of our inspirational day with St. Clare found us recommitted to the truth that we must open ourselves in quiet to this awesome presence of God in our lives.
“We become what we love.
Who we love shapes what we become.”