Veni, Sponsa Christi!
Come, Spouse of Christ!
The Kingdom is the presence of the King; and wheresoever the King
is, he reigns. He reigns by putting darkness to flight; He reigns by
giving a feast for the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind.
His kingship shines in the eyes of brothers and sisters who know
hunger and thirst, who suffer from alienation, rejection and
loneliness. His kingship is found in the midst of those who suffer
in any way.
The King is the poor Christ. If you would live in the intimacy of
the King, if you desire to see his face and hear his voice, if you
would learn to recognize his footsteps resounding in the night; even
more, if you would await him as a virgin, delight him as a bride,
love him as a spouse, and carry him as a mother, then pray to
recognize him in the mystery of his hidden Kingship. Martin of Tours
saw him in the beggar without a cloak; holy Father Francis kissed
him in the leper; Therese mothered him in the criminal condemned to
death, and gave him joy in the most exasperating of her sisters.
The Sacred Liturgy gives us two pathways into the splendor of his
reign. The first is through the "sacrament" of brothers and sisters
in need; the second is through the lowly door of our own weakness.
At different moments in a Poor Clare's life, she may find herself
led by the Holy Spirit along one or the other or both of these
paths. What is clear to those who love and observe the Holy Gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ is that there is no other way into the
mystery of his hidden Kingship. This is why she binds herself by
holy vows to live in obedience, without anything of her own, in
chastity, and in the observance of enclosure. Obedience obliges her
again and again to "come up from the wilderness, leaning upon her
Beloved". Dispossession of anything of her own will oblige her to
live from the resources of the King. Chastity will free her heart to
love her sisters in community, and to assume the awesome and joyful
responsibilities of spiritual motherhood in the Church, especially
in favor of sinners, of the dying, the lonely, the tempted and the
poor. The observance of enclosure anchors her in the reality of the
little and poor for whom there is no escape from the daily
experience of lowliness and need, no escape from perfect joy!
For the Poor Clare Sister, the Eucharist is prepared as foretaste
and pledge of the glorious Kingdom of the poor and exalted Christ.
"Come, for all is now ready". And she, responding with all her heart
to the invitation of the King, has chosen the lowest place. She
remains there, full of joy, so that when the King comes he may say
to her not only, "Friend, come up higher," but "Come, 0 bride of
Christ, receive the crown prepared for you from all eternity"
(antiphon, Rite of Profession); "Sit with me on my throne, as I
myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne" (Rev.
3:21). "The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let him who hears
say, 'Come.' Amen!
Come, Lord Jesus!"