Friday, August 11, 2017

Homily for 11 Aug 2017

11 Aug 2017

Patronal Feast Day: St. Clare

When you think of parish mergers, you don’t normally think of blessings; it’s usually the trials that stand out.  But there is at least one blessing of being a merged parish, and that is that we have the help of several patron saints.  Our church buildings remain under the patronage of Saint Paul, Saint Patrick, and Saint Mary.  And we certainly hope that their examples of faith, hope, and charity continue to inspire us.

But eight years ago, we gained another patroness: Saint Clare of Assisi.  She’s our primary patroness because she was chosen to be a companion, guide, and protector of the community specifically.  We don’t have a church building dedicated to her; instead, we have the church community under her patronage.  And that is a very great blessing.

Saint Clare was chosen because of the history of Franciscan sisters having been teachers in our schools.  And a blessing here is that, in addition to the Lord our Master Teacher, we also have Saint Clare herself as a teacher to us.  And she has much to teach us.

Like so many of the saints, our patroness lived a life of conviction; there were no half-measures when it came to her devotion to God.  She ran from the society of the time to find shelter under God’s wings.  She was the first woman to write a common Rule for those women living in religious community.  And, even though others tried to convince her to adopt a different way of life, a life of less stringent discipline, she remained firm.

She maintained prayer as the central activity in her life.  She lived and breathed the commandment to love God above all.  And that spilled over into a life of charity towards her sisters in community.

Even though we here aren’t members of a religious community—we’re not enclosed in a monastery as Saint Clare was—our patroness has a lot to teach us.  Things like: devotion to God, being unafraid to live an authentic Christian life, living “in the world” but not being worldly, taking the Gospel as our Rule of life, keeping prayer as foundational, and being charitable to others as God inspires us to be.

We have a powerful intercessor, companion and teacher in Saint Clare of Assisi.  And the first lesson she teaches us is the importance of going to God: going to the altar, kneeling at the feet of the one Master Teacher, and learning from him what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ.  Being a merged parish, we especially need that wisdom of God to guide us, and the peace of Christ to keep us at peace.

Thanks be to God for our patroness, Saint Clare.  She is a blessing to us because—like all the saints—she points the way to something, someone much bigger than ourselves.  May we be so blessed to follow her guidance and come to know the one God of all.

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