"The ultimate focus of all Christian contemplation is always Jesus. Clare shows us that we can only know the meaning of our lives as human beings when we look at the life of Jesus."-Illia Delio
Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity focused their November Vocation Discernment Retreat on the theme 'Gaze Upon Christ'. With the inspired artistic works of Stephen B. Whatley's portrait of St. Clare and our own Community's San Damiano's Crucifix painted by Sister Mariella Erdmann, retreatants were free to pray in Motherhouse chapels and in nature during personal prayer time.
Here are some quotes from these sources that were used as suggestions for contemplation:
- But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him.. -Phil: 3:3-4
- Gaze upon Christ; Consider Christ; Contemplate Christ; as you desire to imitate Him. -St. Clare's Letter to Agnes
- Gazing is of the heart by which the heart opens its arms...to allow the Spirit of God's love to enter. Gazing requires a space within the heart to receive what we see and to embrace what we see. -Franciscan Prayer, Illia Delio
- Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance,he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - Phil. 2:5-11
- O Clare, endowed with so many titles of clarity! Clear even before your conversion, clearer in your manner of living, exceedingly clear in your enclosed life, and brilliant in splendor after the course of your mortal life. In Clare, a clear mirror is given to the entire world. -Pope Alexander IV