“Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and truth.” 1 John 3:18 CSB
St. Clare of Assisi was a Franciscan nun. She was born into a wealthy aristocrat’s family in 1194. At the age of 15, when she was engaged to be married, she heard the gospel preached by St. Francis of Assisi which caused her to refuse to marry. When she was 18 she escaped from her father’s home and took refuge in the Benedectine convent. She traded her jeweled belt for a rough woolen habit. She cut off all of her hair, which at this point in time meant she could never marry. Her father and brother’s stormed the convent to retrieve her. She clung to the altar, saying nothing. Then she revealed to them her cut tresses. They knew, at this point, she was never coming home.
St. Clare left the convent only twice after this event. Once to attend the funeral of her longtime friend and mentor, St. Francis. The other time was when the Saracens invaded her small town, surrounding the convent. Clare, after praying with her fellow sisters, grabbed the crucifix and ran out and confronted the army. Her efforts succeeded in turning the army away and saving the convent. St. Clare lived a life of poverty, she lived barefoot, sleeping on the ground, eating no meat and living in almost complete silence. Yet thousands of years later she is still impacting lives. Her convent is the only one which has continued to flourish over all these years. St. Clare ministered to people in two specific ways. She cut a hole in the wall of the convent, she put her hand through the hole and she would pray for the people who came to her, never seeing their face. And she wrote letters, hundreds of letters that have survived the test of time. Letters that carry her words on to this day.
St. Clare loved not with verbal words, but with action and truth. Our actions do speak louder than our words. Acts of love and kindness extend far further than words we say. As we’ve been learning these last few days, it’s important to listen more than we speak. St. Clare gives us the next step as we learn to keep our mouths shut, we need to be doers of the word. If we want to share the love of Jesus, we must remember, love is a verb. It’s an action. Not only must we listen more than we speak, we must act in love. St. Clare is an example of what those actions can do. Actions conquer armies, they heal the sick, they speak louder than our words ever will.