All Sisters shall excel one
another in generosity
and sincere humility
mutually obliging one
out of humbleness
Mother M. Clara Pfänder
We could celebrate this year the rehabilitation of our Foundress Mother M. Clara in the High Cathedral of Paderborn. Mother Clara, the woman who for so many years journeyed in humility while being misunderstood and not recognized by church, finally came to her honor. Let us dare, with Mother Clara and St. Francis, to live our lives with humility and simplicity which are not very popular values today. Let us listen to what each of them speaks to us for our journey to Christ. Mother Clara wrote in her Founding Constitutions: “Humility consists in acknowledgement and love of our dependence on God; and in the joyful realization that our total hope rests completely in God`s mercy through Jesus Christ.” (FC Nr. 26)
What does that mean for us? Nowadays, we do not like to be dependent. We strive to be free, sometimes even free from any ties. Mother Clara draws our attention to the fact that we remain dependent on God, and that we should not only acknowledge this dependence, but even love it. She invites us to put our hope in God's mercy. We can completely entrust ourselves to Him. He leads us into a deep joy and serenity in which we can depend and feel HIS love. Mother Clara continues in the Founding Constitutions: “To do everything in humility means recognizing their weakness and imperfection in all that they do; knowing well that it will be, in any case, imperfect, they do the best they can, endeavoring to leave the results to God who alone must give the increase; expecting, imploring and submitting to Him.” (FC No. 26) Recognizing our weakness, but not dwelling upon it, but rather using all our power and strength for God and for the people around us while giving thanks to Him for everything, are expressions of humility. To live in this way does not make us sad or disheartened. No, an attitude of humility gives us confidence and strength, because it frees us from the pressure to succeed which can be enticing in this day and age.
"In the love that is God, I ask all my brothers (and certainly also the sisters) ... that they seek to be humble in all things, not to boast, not to be self-complacent and not inwardly raising themselves for good words and works, and at all about nothing good that God sometimes fulfils in them and through them in speech or works. We wish to restore all good to the Spirit, the most exalted and highest God, and to acknowledge all good as His property.”
Francis and Mother Clara are very similar in their humility. They relied on God and allowed themselves to be guided and blessed by HIM and to give everything back to HIM in gratitude. The greatness of God, our sublime Creator and the revelation of HIS loving dedication to us made Francis exclaim: ”O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! The Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under an ordinary piece of bread! Brothers look at the humility of God and pour out your hearts before Him!” (Letter to the entire order) God is present in the humble form of bread which he shares with us and invites us to open ourselves completely to Him. He gives us community as spouses, sisters and brothers, and mothers:
We are spouses when the faithful soul is joined by the Holy Spirit to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus, we will be a blessing in the heart of the world.
This way of life of Francis and Mother Clara inspires us. Let us, therefore, use our gifts and talents to praise and serve God, and thank HIM from the bottom of our hearts for everything HE has given to us. In the power of HIS love, we serve the people, as sisters and brothers minor, and become witnesses of HIM.