What Did Prayer Mean to Saints Francis and Clare

by Regina Lehnerz on February 12, 2012

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Postulant Regina Lehnerz summarizes a  two-week class that Franciscan friar Father Charlie Smiech taught on the Prayer of Saints Francis and Clare January 30-February 10, 2012.

There is a scattering of Sisters in St. Francis Chapel, there is Fr. Charlie Smiech striding down the center aisle towards the altar with notes in hand, and there is a stack of books nearby containing the complete works of a couple of radical 13th century sell-outs for the Poor Christ. This is how we began our two-week class on the Prayer of Francis and Clare.

In these last two weeks, this course on prayer has covered topics spanning spiritualization, adoration, contemplation, communication, beatification, transformation, integration, and all other things Franciscan as they apply to finding ourselves silently and still before the all-encompassing presence of God. We have discussed the gratitude, humility, and fidelity portrayed in Francis’s prayers, and there has been extensive conversation concerning the themes of Clare’s letters. These themes include the constant kenosis of spirit, identification with the Poor Christ, the idea of giving birth the Jesus in the world, and the transformation of the soul, which necessarily occurs in a contemplative spirit. Fr. Charlie also taught on the three “Eye’s” of discernment; the eye of the body sees what is in existence, the eye of the mind sees the reason for this existence, and the eye of the soul reminds us that God who created what exists also created us. Apply specific examples as necessary.

One of my most memorable chicken-scratch notes for the course is on St. Clare’s third letter to Blessed Agnes of Prague wherein she writes, “transform your whole being… through contemplation! So that you too may feel what His friends feel as they taste the hidden sweetness which God has reserved from the beginning for those who love Him”. Fr. Charlie summed it up this way: when we are praying and find sweetness on our tongue, we remember God is with us.

10 thoughts on “What Did Prayer Mean to Saints Francis and Clare”

  1. Anne Marie Lom says:

    What a great summary of your class. Regina, you are a very good writer. I enjoyed reading the summary and your “style” of presentation is very easy to read. Blessings on all who participated in the class!

  2. Sr. Elaine says:

    Thanks, Regina, for summarizing the talks by Father Charlie these past two weeks. Great job! So much was shared in these two weeks. We are each challenged to “go deeper” in our understanding of Francis and Clare and their deep love for our Lord. What a call for each of us to grow day by day.

  3. Fightingwithangels says:

    Regina, you are a better writer than I am….
    -big brother, Jon

  4. Regina  does have a flair with words. Thanks for your comment!)

  5. John Lehnerz aka The Papa says:

    Write a meaningful and encompassing description of a two week class in 3 short paragraphs?  INCONCEIVABLE!!!
    Masterfully done Regina.  Your “highlight” summation at the end from the letters of St. Clare reflects what is urgent and pressing on your heart.  And, as it happens, also on my heart…
    I love you more…….
    The Papa

  6. Anonymous says:

    Regina, a very good summary of the two weeks of Father Charlie’s presentation on Francis and Clare.
    It will take a lifetime to contemplate their prayers and put them into practice.

  7. Sister Natalie says:

    How blessed we are to have spiritual opportunities as the two week session with Father Charlie on Franciscan Prayer!  Many insights were gained.   Motivation to delve into the Early Documents of St. Francis and St. Clare to learn about our Franciscan roots was a personal encouragement. 

  8. Sr. Delores says:

    Thanks, Regina, for the summary.  I can almost feel like I was there too.  Francis and Clare touch me deeply.

  9. Regina says:

    wow! Thanks the Papa aka John Lehnerz!! St. Clare is … profound and intense. She and Padre Pio probably play cribbage in Heaven!! Can’t wait to see you.

  10. Regina says:

    that’s not true!!! I’ve been reading some of your work…. (still reading, that is)! Thanks for checking in on us!!

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