Our Amazing Selves

The other day, during yet another hymn to what Fr. Richard Neuhaus calls “Our Amazing Selves,” I had to take a break. I’m not proud of it, but I got up and fled to the little alcove in the vestibule that a statue of our patron saint, Clare of Asissi, shares with some folding chairs (and, formerly, the recycling).

It’s a small but very beautiful alcove, and our statue is large and a very beautiful statue. Narrow stained glass windows gave only a mute blue glow. I looked up at St. Clare and prepared for a little pouting session for My Cranky Self.

“You were a contemplative,” I thought to her. (I believe that the saints possess telepathic powers.) “You repelled a Muslim army with a Host. You spent your whole life praying for everyone. Is this what you had in mind?”

I’m not sure exactly what I meant by “this” — everything, I guess. Everything that frustrates me and gives me high blood pressure about the liturgy, my fellow American Catholics, myself, and the whole sorry world, for that matter. Substitute your own concerns.

Because the answer — and I did get an answer — was “yes.” Clare and the Poor Clares down through the ages have prayed for us, whatever we choose to do out here outside the convent walls. They pray for us because we need it. Like soldiers who fight so that the next generation of kids can be spoiled and can squander their freedom if they want to, they are also in battle.

So, chastised, I went back to my pew. The Poor Clares are praying for us, in Cincinnati and around the world. We all have a battle to fight, and that’s the best place to start.stclare

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