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Document Details :
Title: Clare of Assisi: Beauty and Transformation
Author(s): DELIO, Ilia
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 12 Date: 2000
This paper explores the notion of beauty in the letters of Clare of Assisi. Examining her letters to Agnes of Prague reveals a development of the relationship between poverty, beauty, and spiritual transformation. Contemplating the beauty that appears in the wounded figure of the crucified Christ, Clare advises Agnes to pursue the path of poverty as a way of being conformed to Christ. Poverty makes room for love, and love renders one beautiful.
Clare's joumey to God is a dynamic one. Her thoughts reflect those of Gregory of Nyssa, who claimed that spiritual transformation is a continual progression into the eternal embrace of God's love. Clare advises Agnes to continually study her face in the mirror of the cross, indicating that the journey into beauty is a perpetual growth in love. By seeing the truth of herself in the mirror of the cross, Agnes is to attain true beauty. To become beautiful is to become like the beloved, self-giving in love. Although Clare does not speak of beauty outside her letters, her words imply that beauty also lies at the heart of community. The beauty of love that shines in the individual must radiate in the community of believers as well Love is the form of Christian life. When the human person mirrors the love of Christ, then the beauty of God reigns in the world.