Adoration

The central focus of Poor Clare life is adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. St. Clare was utterly devoted to the Eucharist, as was St. Francis in his incarnational spirituality, each of us becoming one with the Body of Christ, present for each other. With nothing more than the Blessed Sacrament, St. Clare famously held the monastery of San Damiano against the invading Saracens – showing them Jesus in the monstrance. Now that’s power!

The power of the Eucharist is more than we can imagine or ever write about. Jesus has given us the gift of Himself in this Blessed Sacrament; He is a living presence in the Eucharist. “Take and eat; this is my body, which is broken for you” (1 Cor. 11:24), and, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt. 26:28). When we receive Communion, we are being transformed bit by bit into the living presence (incarnation) of Christ in the world. And when we sit with Him in the Blessed Sacrament, we are communing with Him in ways our conscious, rational mind can’t even conceive.

To adore means to rest in His presence. Our prayer before the Blessed Sacrament can be like sliding into a warm bath of love, healing, and refreshment – silent, wordless, pure encounter. It is an intimate encounter, since we are totally present to Him, as He is to us. We bring him our joys, our sorrows, our desires, our hopes, our pain. He gives us his healing love, and His assurance that he is with us always, just as he promised.

But our prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is also very much a prayer of intercession. This is a kind of co-redeeming stance, where we join ourselves to Jesus in His constant intercession with the Father – have mercy on us! We can pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and we can offer up our own portion of Christ’s cross, our daily sufferings, in union with His, to the Father. Uniting ourselves to Him, we abide in Him, as He abides in us. There is no higher commitment we can make as living, human beings than to share in His cross, offer our suffering that simply comes with living life, and then resting in Him.

Our-Life21

This is His gift to us, and yet how often do people take the time to adore Jesus? Even if our daily responsibilities keep us from adoration of the exposed Blessed Sacrament, sitting before the tabernacle even for a few minutes a day will change our lives. Whether we face a decision, some kind of sorrow or crisis, or we are bored with our lives – whatever our circumstance, Jesus longs for us to come to Him and share our intimate selves with Him.

What is the “real Presence?”
As Catholics, we know that Jesus is really and truly present in the consecrated host. It is not a symbol of his body – it is His Body, broken for us, given to us, present to us. Whether we believe or not, He is there!

What is “making a Holy Hour?”
Making a Holy Hour is spending an hour before the Blessed Sacrament. This is inspired by Jesus’s plea with his apostles to stay awake and pray with him in the garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion. Can you keep Him company for even one hour?

What is a “monstrance?”
The monstrance is the transparent receptacle where the Consecrated Host is exposed for veneration. Usually it is of brass or gold, and can vary from traditional designs to more modern ones like this one:

Monstrance

No matter the design of the monstrance, our Lord is present for us to adore, coming before Him with our hearts open, as His Sacred Heart is always open to us.

For further reading:

St. Clare and the Saracens: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Assisi.pdf

Eucharistic Devotion (with Holy Hours):

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/eucharistic-devotion/

Saints and the Eucharist:

http://www.acfp2000.com/Saints/Saints.html

History of Eucharistic Adoration in the Church:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01152a.htm

No matter the design of the monstrance, our Lord is present for us to adore, coming before Him with our hearts open, as His Sacred Heart is always open to us.

For further reading:

St. Clare and the Saracens: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Assisi.pdf

Eucharistic Devotion (with Holy Hours):
http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/eucharistic-devotion/

Saints and the Eucharist:
http://www.acfp2000.com/Saints/Saints.html

History of Eucharistic Adoration in the Church:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01152a.htm

A message from the Sisters

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In you, also, God’s goodness has become incarnate to us by your faithful love and support. Each day we remember you and your loved ones, living and deceased, in the Eucharist and Divine Office. Let us pray that our poor world will know and welcome Jesus as the Prince of Peace..

With love, prayers and gratitude for your goodness to our community.

Sister Regina and all your Poor Clare Sisters
Illustration of Jesus

Jesus Christ is the middle point of all Clare’s thoughts, the focus of her love. He is the Mirror, in which she will look every day. In Him she recognizes the depths of the Divine Mysteries, the essence of the external world and the innermost nature of her own person. The essential nature of the life of Jesus, in Whose footsteps she seeks to follow, consists, for her, in His humble descent into the poverty of human life, where the wealth that is God’s will be encountered.

The spirituality of St Clare is, on the one hand, very much the same as that of St Francis, but on the other hand, she is more finely attuned, more ‘womanly’ in her empathy towards the most apparently insignificant movements of the human heart.

Few in number are her writings, yet, though they offer us no easy access to contemplating the humble Jesus, they are in the deepest sense simple. Only after the passage of time can the deep spiritual sustenance contained in the writings of St Clare be apparent to our modern analytical way of looking, used as we are to seeing only the surface meaning of things.

See more clearly with Clare! Her insights, result of decades of contemplation, will lead us into the deep clarity that satisfies our yearnings, to look upon God, to contemplate Him.

Prayer, poverty, a life of penance, and a life lived in community as the expression of a life in communion with God: for Clare, these form the firm foundation on which she discovers the very core of her faith. Through her life of prayer, poverty and her life of penance in community with her Sisters, Clare gains an insight into the deeper significance of what the Son of God preaches and proclaims from Crib and Cross. Gripped by what she experiences in her love for Jesus Christ laid in a manger and nailed to a cross, she shares these in her letters to Agnes of Prague:

“Look at the border of this mirror, that is, the poverty of Him Who was placed in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. O marvelous humility! O astonishing poverty! The King of angels, the Lord of heaven and earth, is laid in a manger!

Then, at the surface of the mirror, consider the holy humility, the blessed poverty, the untold labors and burdens that He endured for the redemption of the whole human race. Then, in the depth of this same mirror, contemplate the ineffable charity that led Him to suffer on the wood of the Cross and to die there the most shameful kind of death … From this moment, then, O Queen of our heavenly King, let yourself be inflamed more strongly with the fervor of charity.” (4 Letter to Agnes, 19 -27)

Clare is overwhelmed by God’s love. That the Great, the Most High, the Lord Himself has become Man out of Love for humankind has become Man to redeem His people! Crib and Cross: before these we stand, before the very core of Clare’s spirituality. When all is said and done, it is from the Crib and the Cross that Clare draws her radicality, her Poverty and her Form of Life. Clare is enraptured and fascinated by the message of Love that she reads in the Gospel: God identifies Himself with His lost people by the Incarnation and by the Death upon the Cross of His Son. Clare wanted to give throughout her whole life an adequate response to this Mystery of Faith. In her intuitive relationship to the Crib and the Cross – for her the outward signs of God’s Love that seeks out humankind in its abandoned state – Clare feels in the very depths of her soul that she is the recipient of God’s gifts to her. Crib and Cross, as signs that humankind has been liberated and given back to life, make it clear to Clare and her Sisters that their life takes its origin deep down at the very wellsprings of the Love which God has for His people. Clare feels that she has been given the gift of Life itself. This attitude that assures her that she has been most richly endowed is imprinted upon her self understanding. She knows that every day she will receive further gifts.