as Gaeilge Po polsku




Place your mind before the mirror of eternity!
Place your soul in the brilliance of glory!
Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance
And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead Itself
through contemplation!
So that you too may feel what His friends feel
as they taste the hidden sweetness
which God Himself has reserved from the
beginning for those who love Him'.

From Third letter of St. Clare


Praying with St. Clare

We give three methods of praying with St. Clare, as follows:


Place your mind before the mirror of eternity!
Place your soul in the brilliance of glory!
Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance
And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead Itself
through contemplation!
So that you too may feel what His friends feel
as they taste the hidden sweetness
which God Himself has reserved from the
beginning for those who love Him."

This can be broken down into three stages:
    1. - "Place your mind in the Mirror of Eternity".
    The mind is the source of all our anxieties and fears. St. Clare tells us elsewhere, that Christ is the Mirror, so to place our mind in the mirror of eternity, is to bring all that is in us, our troubles and our joys to the Lord. We come before the Lord as we are and bring them to Him. He has told us: "Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest". (Mathew 11:28-30) Scripture also tells us to "Unload all your worries on to him, since he is looking after you." (1 Peter 5:7). This leaves us free to concentrate on Him. Putting these things in the light of eternity also has the advantage of helping us to get perspective on them. Often, our worries can diminish when we think of them in terms of eternity.

    2. - "Place your soul in the brilliance of glory".
    The Soul is our innermost being, the meeting place with God. St. Clare tells us that Jesus is the brilliance of glory, and so, to bring our soul into the brilliance of glory is to rest ourselves in Him, and to let the light of His glory shine on us and flood us with His grace.

    3. - "Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance and transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation!"
    Christ is the figure of the divine substance. At this stage, contemplate Christ, especially in the various episodes of His life and allow yourself to be taken over by Him, so that He imprints Himself upon your souls.

The end result of all of this, is that we "feel what His friends feel,as they taste the hidden sweetness which God Himself has reserved from the beginning for those who love Him".

Back to top

Method 2: Gaze upon Him

In her 2nd letter to St. Agnes, St. Clare gives us another formula for prayer. She recommends that she:

"Gaze upon Him,
Consider Him,
Contemplate Him,
As you desire to imitate Him".

This is another method that can be broken down:

    1. - "Gaze upon Him".
    This is a vital way to begin prayer and one that is just as relevant nowadays as it was in the time of Clare. That this is so is borne out by the fact that this is what Pope John Paul ll has recommended in his letter on the dawn of the new millennium. He tells us to look on the different faces of Christ, the face of the sorrowful One, the face of the risen One. He feels very strongly that this has to be the starting point of all our other activities. If we do not start from Christ and let Him work within us, all our activities are empty and meaningless. As St. Ambrose says, "To rest in the Lord and to gaze upon his loveliness is truly a feast and full of delight and peacefulness."
    16.

    2. - "Consider Him".
    This involves interiorising what we have gazed upon, bringing the face of Christ into our innermost selves. We think of Christ in the different scenes of His life and consider what they mean and especially what they mean for us.

    3. - "Contemplate Him, as you desire to imitate Him".
    Here, we enter into dialogue with the Lord, and ask Him to imprint His image deep within us. We ask Him what significance these mysteries have for us and we ask Him to reveal Himself more and more to us; like babies, who cannot take their eyes off their mother; and then reflect back all that they see. They grow and develop in the security of this loving nurturing. In this loving contemplation, we seek to rest in His love. "Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus." 17 "Contemplation is not so much an activity as a mode of placing ourselves before God - in prayer and in life. It is an overall attitude that pervades our daily life and within which we are enabled to know the primacy of God. Beauty lies in allowing oneself to be looked at by God". "Contemplation is precisely that harmony which is constantly being created day by day within us, where the One who indwells us awaits us". "Then even the tensions (for tensions will never entirely disappear).... will not upset the harmony and deep serenity of your life, because a contemplative will always find the path which leads towards the Absolute, a path of peace and not of disturbance, anxiety or worry." 18 "Every human being carries in the heart a mystery greater then themselves. By "fixing my gaze" as Clare did on this mysterious gift I am enabled to encounter the One whose presence enables me to live fully. When "fixing one's gaze" on the Light becomes second nature a longing for God takes hold of one's heart and the dominant impulse is the desire to make room for the Lord. By sweeping away every impediment to union one grows day by day in deep relationship with God." 19

Back to top

Method 3: Cling to His Most Sweet Mother

"Cling to His Most Sweet Mother". For St. Clare, Our Lady is alwaysmentioned in relation to Jesus. He is always the focus of herattention, but, being a woman deeply in love, she understands thedepths of the love that exists between them. Herself being the'mother' of at least 50 sisters in her monastery, she knows what isinvolved in this role. A mother always has time for all her childrenand has all their interests at heart. She is the unifying one in thefamily, the place of security when we are afraid, the one we canalways turn to, no matter how much we think others may not love us, orindeed, that we may not love ourselves! Jesus gave her to us as ourmother in a special way on the Cross and so, St. Clare knows that notonly can we approach her in complete confidence and know that we willnot be turned away, but we can even (and should) "cling" to her. Thisimage of "clinging" conjures up the way a child who has been lost,might cling to its mother when they are reunited. This is his place of security.

In her 3rd letter, St. Clare says, "Cling to His most sweet Mother whocarried a Son Whom the heavens could not contain; and yet she carriedHim in the enclosure of her holy womb and held Him on her virginal lap." She marvels that He who is the Lord of the universe not onlydeigned to humble Himself to become man, but He submitted Himself tovoluntarily living in Our Lady's womb - in total dependence upon her.In telling us to "cling" to His mother, she is suggesting that weallow ourselves to be nurtured by her, as Jesus was. To pray withthis method, is to develop a relationship with Our Lady and to reallyturn to her as a mother. If we "cling" to her, as Clare suggests, shewon't let us down.

Poor Clares, Galway | Copyright Information