Beholding with Clare
Clare spent her life, most literally, looking at this image. She defined prayer as the process of allowing oneself to be "transformed into the icon of God."
In this prayer, taken from a letter she wrote to another Poor Clare, Ermentrude of Bruges, she invites us to become what we have seen.
Look up to Heaven, dear one,
and take up your Cross and follow Christ
who walks ahead of us,
for through Him
we shall enter into His glory.
Looking with Clare
I look up and I behold the Lord,
Clare says to me, 'Gaze upon Him, consider Him, contemplate Him," (2nd letter to Agnes of Prague) I put this more simply: behold, hold, enfold.
I behold the Lord
I see His outstretched hands
I see the blood from His wounds.
I see the love in the eyes of Jesus.
I see His gracious acceptance of me.
Jesus has come out of the tomb -
He still has the scars, but now they are glorious, with the glory of Heaven.
Still looking at the Lord, I reach out and touch Him.
I hold before my mind what I have seen and I am held in his love.
It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me.
I am secure in the Lord.
I can look out, now, through the Lord's eyes
I can see the world as He created it, in His mercy,
I can see my sisters and brothers with His love,
and I can worship the Father through the eyes of the Son
in the love of the Holy Spirit.
Listening with Francis
Francis was a see-er; the Lord reached her through the things she looked at. But Francis was a hear-er and the Lord spoke to him through this icon, saying, rebuild my church.
Francis tells me: listen hold enfold.
The Lord is not silent, he has spoken from the cross to me, too. I hear with my ears the words he says to me.
Listen to the music as you reflect on these words of the Lord.
Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Luke 23
Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom
Amen I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. Lk 23
Woman, behold your son - behold your mother. Jn 19
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Mt 27
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. Lk 23
It is consummated. Jn 19
Which of these words speaks to me, now?
Now I listen with my understanding.
The Lord's word echoes in my mind, it becomes my word.
Desire is prayer.
Desire is love: I hold the word
Finally, I enfold the word with my heart.
The word comes alive in me. I ponder, as the gospel tells us Mary pondered.
I act on what I have heard:
one does not know anything until one has acted upon it.