ON Palm Sunday, March 17, 1212, the Bishop of Assisi left the altar to present a palm to a noble maiden, eighteen years of age, whom bashfulness had detained in her place. This maiden was St. Clare. Already she had learnt from St. Francis to hate the world, and was secretly resolved to live for God alone. The same night she escaped, with one companion, to the Church of the Portiuncula, where she was met by St. Francis and his brethren. At the altar of Our Lady, St. Francis cut off her hair, clothed her in his habit of penance, a piece of sack-cloth, with his cord as a girdle. Thus she was espoused to Christ. In a miserable house outside Assisi she founded her Order, and was joined by her sister, fourteen years of age, and afterwards by her mother and other noble ladies. They went barefoot, observed perpetual abstinence, constant silence, and perfect poverty. While the Saracen army of Frederick II. was ravaging the valley of Spoleto, a body of infidels advanced to assault St. Clare's convent, which stood outside Assisi. The Saint caused the Blessed Sacrament to be placed in a monstrance, above the gate of the monastery facing the enemy, and kneeling before it, prayed, "Deliver not to beasts, O Lord, the souls of those who confess to Thee." A voice from the Host replied, "My protection will never fail you." A sudden panic seized the infidel host, which took to flight, and the Saint's convent was spared. During her illness of twenty-eight years the Holy Eucharist was her only support and spinning linen for the altar the one work of her hands. She died in 1253, as the Passion was being read, and Our Lady and the angels conducted her to glory.
Reflection. —In a luxurious and effeminate age, the daughters of St. Clare still bear the noble title of poor, and preach by their daily lives the poverty of Jesus Christ.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ps. 44, 8
Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: there for God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (P. T. Alleluia, alleluia.) Ps. 44, 2. My heart that uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. Glory be …
Graciously hear us, O God, our Saviour, that, as we rejoice in the festival of blessed Clare, Thy virgin, so we may be taught by the spirit of pious devotion. Through our Lord.
Epistle • 2 Cor. 10, 17;11, 1, 2
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
[He warneth them against false teachers. He counts all other things loss, that he may gain Christ.]
BRETHREN, But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commendeth himself, is approved, but he, whom God commendeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly: but do bear with me. For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Gradual • Ps. 44, 5
With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Because of truth, and, meekness and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.
Alleluia, alleluia. After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.
Gospel • Matt. 25, 1-13
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[The parable of the ten virgins and of the talents. The description of the last judgment.]
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.
But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.
Offertory • Ps. 44, 10
The daughters of kings in Thy honor: the queen stood on Thy right hand, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety. (P. T. Alleluia.)
May the offering of Thy consecrated people be accepted by Thee, O Lord, in honor of Thy saints, by whose merits it knoweth that it hath received aid in time of trouble. Through our Lord.
Communion • Matt. 25, 4, 6
The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with lamps: but at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet Christ our Lord. (P. T. Alleluia.)
Thou hast filled Thy household, O Lord, with sacred gifts; ever comfort us, we beseech Thee, through her intercession whose festival we celebrate. Through our Lord.