This blog began because of the pandemic. Early on, I wrote a reflection about the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe and how struck I was that the Blessed Mother speaks explicitly about disease – and about not fearing it. It was a reflection for the sisters, and I faxed it out to all the convents. Then, I found myself reflecting on the Mass and the unthinkable possibility that we might have to endure a time without it…also, just for the sisters. Later, I found myself pondering on paper about my patroness as a saint uniquely suited for special devotion during this bizarre chapter of our lives…also written for the sisters. Then came a few enthusiastic suggestions to post these on our website, and the “Reflections for Consolation Amid the Crisis” came to be.
For me, writing is like a portal to an alternate universe. I lose time when I write. I like the challenge of putting ideas into words. The challenge of saying the very thing I mean, which is the whole “art and joy of words,” to quote C.S. Lewis. This old interest was like a new discovery during the pandemic. One Sunday afternoon, I was in my office on the fourth floor of Our Lady Queen of Angels Convent, trying to put into words my musings on Santa Chiara—my patroness—when Sr. Elizabeth came to the door with a popsicle. It was hot, it was Sunday, and Sr. Elizabeth has a knack for seeing opportunities to “offer timely aid.” Gladly receiving her kindness, we spoke for a few minutes, and then I returned to St. Clare. When I finally emerged from the world of words, I stood up and noticed a red puddle that had spread across my desk. It looked like my computer was bleeding. And then I realized what it was. I had completely forgotten about the popsicle! After one bite I had returned to the sweeter delight of words. Later that evening, at dinner, a sister pointed out a patch of red on the elbow of my habit—I hadn’t noticed. So I remembered again, and recounted, the popsicle incident from hours before. “I guess my elbows were resting in the red-raspberry-popsicle-puddle, and I was in perfect oblivion,” I explained. Pondering the incident left me with a somewhat surprising revelation about the degree to which I enjoyed writing—enough to let my popsicle melt! And with that insight, I started to make more time to write. It became a wonderful outlet for me, even while being an outreach to others.
Common is the fear that following God and doing His will is all about self-denial. We are afraid that He means to take things away from us—that God is Ruler and Judge; He is exacting and demanding—and we are daunted. The truth is God doesn’t want anything from us. He is the giver. He wants us to receive. He Himself is the gift He wants to give. All our talents are little mirrors reflecting His splendor and glory—it’s all His. Spending our talents lavishly brings a double grace: to us, joy and to Him, glory.
Mother Clare, CFR