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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of leading a day retreat for children preparing for their First Communion and Confirmation. As I helped to teach and guide these children, I watched them grow in their understanding and knowledge of these incredible sacraments. During the second portion of the morning, we separated into small groups and prepared a skit on the life of a saint. My group was responsible for Saint Clare of Assisi, focusing upon the virtue of fortitude. We chose to re-enact a truly remarkable event which occurred at the monastery of San Damiano, Assisi in September of 1240. The nuns who were living alongside Saint Clare, received news that they were being attacked by the army of Frederic the 2nd and the Saracens. The sisters were terrified and were left with no where to flee. They rushed to Saint Clare, who, at the time was extremely ill and weak. It is said that while the armies began to bang on the doors, climb over the walls and shout at the sisters within, Saint Clare began to pray. She knew she could not stop these men on her own, but she asked the Lord to protect them. With the help of two sisters, they made their way to where the Blessed Sacrament was kept. Saint Clare took Jesus, enclosed in a silver and ivory box to the doors of the monastery. She presented Jesus in the Eucharist towards the raging armies, with a fearless heart. She had such a profound trust in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, that the armies soon became silent, and turned away.
It was beautiful to watch the children re-enact this profound miracle, with such enthusiasm and joy. As I stood up there with them, prompting lines, and passing the microphone around, I was really touched. These children were not only learning about the life of Saint Clare, but the great power that comes from Christ. Little did I realize, that this skit would play a big part in my understanding of the Eucharist.
It happened a few weeks later when I was before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration. After a few minutes of sitting in the chapel, I just understood in my heart that; the same Jesus who turned away the armies in Assisi, is in front of you right now. In one overwhelming moment, I had a glimpse of the incredible power, strength, beauty and joy that is found within the Eucharist. It was so clear that we are called to a profound, and mysterious, unwavering trust and faith in Christ Jesus, concealed in form of bread.
This same Jesus was present in the Blessed Sacrament in the Monastery of San Damiano, for God cannot change, and He never will. So what was the difference then? Why could Saint Clare perform this miracle in Assisi, if it is indeed the same Christ Jesus whom she brought to the armies? I think the answer lies in an honest, faithful and pure desire to seek God above all things. Of course, Saint Clare was bestowed with incredible graces, but I believe that she ferverently prayed for grace, for trust, for strength, and for the gifts of the Spirit. She was faithful in receiving the sacraments, in service for others and in prayer life. She became so focused on heavenly truths, that earthly concerns were not a stumbling block. So when she heard news of attacking soldiers, her great trust in God could not be shaken. This gift of fortitude is a huge example for us, who are also called to be saints.
I realized that as I continue on this journey of faith, and life and joys and sorrows, I am called to a deeper love of the Eucharist. The feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated last Sunday which was another affirmation of this call. It’s a call for me, but for you too! I think this video is a good reflection on the mass, the Eucharist, and what blessings we have received through the Church.
May God continue to reveal himself to us through the sacrament of the Euchrist. That we will find a peace and joy in Christ, who through the Church, is given to us!
” While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ” Take; this is my Body”. Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ” This is my Blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many”…” – Mark 14: 22-24