Saint Clare of Assisi was not the lover of Saint Francis of Assisi.
People love to examine their relationship and plug in some fascinating tale of unrequited, suppressed or sublimated love. Naturally, the imagination of many scholars/fans/spiritual wirters wants to go into some excting places to spice up the story of these two folks. Heck, one’s a man and one’s a woman, so there had to be some romantic feeling there, right?
Wish I could remember all the details of that C.S. Lewis book about the four (or was it five?) loves, but I can’t do that right now, so I’ll just have to go with my own thoughts on this one.
Sure, Clare loved Francis. Sure, Francis loved Clare. Love was a defining feature of how each of them met the world. Not with suspicion and fear as most people meet others. If you haven’t experienced people meeting you with suspicion and fear lately, it is because you are not trying hard enough. What I mean is that you are in a routine and you aren’t encountering anybody new from day to day. My husband and I have just moved to a totally different part of the country and so every place I go, I am a stranger and pilgrim. You know how strangers and pilgrims are treated? That’s right-with suspicion. Want to hear more about that? Drop me a line as I am now an expert on the topic after a few weeks in a new place. As I estalbish a routine, though, I know this will go away and I won’t be viewed as suspiciously in as many places.
Enough about me, let’s return to our heroine. We can say she was his first female follower. It doesn’t stop there, of course, because she and Jesus blazed a beautiful path as she followed in the footprints of the poor and humble Christ. Another reason why it doesn’t stop there is b/c she outlived the fella by a good several decades. God continued to inspire, direct, lead and show her the way.
Through this blog, we’ll be taking a good look at this cool formerly rich lady who gave up her status, riches and security to live in the world as a pilgrim and stranger. For now, suffice to say she was not in some weird love triangle involving herself, Francis and Jesus. Nope. Her heart was totally for Jesus. And it was not a selfish, possiessive love of Jesus, but one which she wished others claimed and nourished as well.
Happy Valentine’s Day!