Sauntering with St. Clare of Assisi

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Readings for the Feast Day of St. Clare of Assisi

This reflection was shared at Sacred Saunter Outdoor Eucharist on Saturday August 10, 2019 at Sequoia Park in Eureka. 
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Today we celebrate the feast of St. Clare of Assisi, a beautiful young Italian woman who lived in Assisi in the 13th century, at the same time and place of another famous Italian saint: St. Francis the Deacon!

I should let you know that we will be celebrating the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on Saturday October 5th here at Sequoia Park with a Blessing of the Animals. So you are invited to bring all your creatures great and small for a blessing on October 5th here at the park entrance. St. Francis is associated with animals for many reasons. One reason is that he loved to preach to the animals. Just as the Buddha preached to the deer so too did St. Francis love to preach to the birds. One day, Clare heard Francis preaching and was moved by his words, but she was even more moved by his actions, which often speak louder than words. Francis is known for saying, “Preach the Gospel always. Use words only when necessary.” Clare was deeply moved by the way that Francis gave up his life of wealth and prestige to embrace holy poverty and to serve the poor in the Name of Christ. Clare followed in his footsteps by placing her jewelry and rich outer garments on the altar. Clare gave up her life of wealth to serve the poor and to become the Mother Superior of a Religious Order that came to be known as “the Poor Clares.” 

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As we continue our saunter, I invite us to follow in the footsteps of Francis and Clare by bringing an offering to our tree trunk altar: an offering not from our purses but from the earth. After the Prayers and the Passing of the Peace at the pond, we will walk through part of the Sequoia Creek trail; and as we do, I invite us to be intentionally silent and look for one thing (a stone, a leaf, a pinecone or twig) to offer upon our tree trunk altar this morning, as a symbol of your gift to God. In general, I ask that we not pick things off of plants and trees unless there’s a blackberry just asking to be picked. We will then offer our gifts at the altar silently or with a brief word of explanation as you feel led. We will do this in the spirit of St. Clare who is known for offering these wonderful words of blessing:

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“Go in peace and follow the good road ahead of you. Live without fear. Your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you and loves you as a mother. And the blessing of God, the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sustainer be among you and remain with you forever. Amen.”

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