Today I wanted to give you a gift, the gift of the life of a beautiful saint, Clare of Assisi. Call all your friends named Clare or Clara or Chiara or derivatives thereof to wish them a splendid name day!
On this very day of the patron saint of television, I had a splendid afternoon interviewing Jonathan Roumie who is Jesus Christ in the extraordinarily successful television series, The Chosen, Dallas Jenkins, producer, director and writer of The Chosen and Neal Harmon, CEO of Angel Studios. You’ll love hearing how the name Angel was chosen. And you’ll learn everything you want to know about crowd-funding!
It was an uplifting day all around, in addition to which Jonathan and Dallas had great stories and videos about their meeting with Pope Francis this morning at the end of the general audience. (see Instagram jonathanroumieofficial).
There was a bit of a mystery this morning at the end of the audience and before the Pope came down to greet those in the prima file, the front row. He either asked for his phone to be brought to him or someone handed him a phone after he had prayed the Our Father. He then exited the Paul VI Hall for a period of time that seems to be ill defined – a couple of minutes? – and came back in to greet people.
EWTN’s Daniel Ibanez captured this image. Media tried to get the press office to say something but total silence has followed. I did hear the story from a friend who attended the audience. Why would we want to know? Well, for a pope to ask for or be handed a phone before the actual completion of a weekly audience, a pope who leaves the stage and then comes back to greet people, is extraordinarily unusual, maybe a first time ever. Common sense says it had to be an urgent matter.
Who was the Pope speaking to? One Twitter account showed the following close-up of the phone and the person on the other end was either Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra or someone using his phone. He is a Venezuelan prelate and was named Substitute for the Secretariat of State on August 15, 2018, effective October 15 that year.
The Pope does not look too happy in the photo posted on this Twitter account: Francesco Antonio Grana on Twitter: “S.E. Mons. Edgar Peña Parra https://t.co/mapNBf1Eks” / Twitter
AUGUST 11, FEAST OF SAINT CLARE OF ASSISI
(Franciscanmedia.org) One of the more sugary movies made about Francis of Assisi pictures Clare as a golden-haired beauty floating through sun-drenched fields, a sort of one-woman counterpart to the new Franciscan Order.
The beginning of her religious life was indeed movie material. Having refused to marry at 15, Clare was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis. He became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide.
At 18, Clare escaped from her father’s home one night, was met on the road by friars carrying torches, and in the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula received a rough woolen habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, and sacrificed her long tresses to Francis’ scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent, which her father and uncles immediately stormed in rage. Clare clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair, and remained adamant.
Sixteen days later her sister Agnes joined her. Others came. They lived a simple life of great poverty, austerity, and complete seclusion from the world, according to a Rule that Francis gave them as a Second Order. At age 21, Francis obliged Clare under obedience to accept the office of abbess, one she exercised until her death
The Poor Ladies went barefoot, slept on the ground, ate no meat, and observed almost complete silence. Later Clare, like Francis, persuaded her sisters to moderate this rigor: “Our bodies are not made of brass.” The greatest emphasis, of course, was on gospel poverty. They possessed no property, even in common, subsisting on daily contributions. When even the pope tried to persuade Clare to mitigate this practice, she showed her characteristic firmness: “I need to be absolved from my sins, but I do not wish to be absolved from the obligation of following Jesus Christ.”
Contemporary accounts glow with admiration of Clare’s life in the convent of San Damiano in Assisi. She served the sick and washed the feet of the begging nuns. She came from prayer, it was said, with her face so shining it dazzled those about her. She suffered serious illness for the last 27 years of her life. Her influence was such that popes, cardinals, and bishops often came to consult her—Clare herself never left the walls of San Damiano.
Francis always remained her great friend and inspiration. Clare was always obedient to his will and to the great ideal of gospel life which he was making real.
A well-known story concerns her prayer and trust. Clare had the Blessed Sacrament placed on the walls of the convent when it faced attack by invading Saracens. “Does it please you, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children I have nourished with your love? I beseech you, dear Lord, protect these whom I am now unable to protect.” To her sisters she said, “Don’t be afraid. Trust in Jesus.” The Saracens fled.