Thursday, November 19, 2009

She Ain't Heavy, She's My Sister

Feast of St. Agnes of Assisi – Born 1197 – Died 1253 Some people have such a fire in them, such determination, that they cannot be stopped. Like a rock of faith in the midst of a stormy sea, they stand firm and cannot be moved. Sometimes…. literally. St. Agnes was the biological sister of the famous foundress of the Poor Clares, St. Clare. Agnes was Clare's "first" follower. But like anything as bold as discipleship, it met with some resistance. Some felt that Agnes, like her sister Clare, was wasting her life in this devotion to prayer and poverty. When she left home just two weeks after Clare's exodus into the desert of contemplation, the family tried to fetch her back. They had tophysically drag her out of the monastery, but suddenly she became so heavy that several big armed knights could not budge her. The will of the soul made steel of her body, it would seem. When her charming uncle Monaldo tried to strike her, he was temporarily paralyzed. They left Agnes and Clare in peace. Smart move. The Moral? Don't mess with the desires of the heart; don't try to force a soul so uniquely called to fit into your little paradigm of what happiness is. And know this: we need contemplatives like Agnes and Clare in the world. They rest in the eye of the storm in perfect stillness. They draw down graces innumerable by their constant gaze into the Heart of God. We need them, and should never hinder their call into the white hot furnace of silence. "One solitary God-centered, God-intoxicated person can do more to keep God's love alive and His presence felt in the world than a thousand half-hearted, talkative busy people living frightened, fragmented "lives of quiet desperation." - Fr. McNamara
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