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Title: Identity and Contemplation in Clare of Assisi's Writings
Author(s): DELIO, I.
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 14    Date: 2004   
Pages: 139-152
DOI: 10.2143/SIS.14.0.505191

Abstract :
Clare of Assisi described a spiritual path to God in her letters to Agnes of Prague that was decisively incarnational. This paper focuses specifically on the relationship between self-identity and contemplation in her writings, as these lead to union with God. Although Clare lived a monastic life, it is clear that she did not adopt the monastic spiritual ascent in which contemplation is the goal of the spiritual life. Rather, Clare describes contemplation as a penetrating gaze on the beloved crucified Spouse, a gaze which essentially permeates the entire spiritual journey. Contemplation is not the goal of the journey but the means by which one, in union with Christ, becomes a reflection of Christ. For Clare, imitation (of Christ) is the fruit of union with God and the goal of the spiritual life. We are to give birth to Christ in our lives and to radiate the face of Christ to the world. To see, to love, and to become what we love marks her spirituality as one that contributes to the building up of the body of Christ, the church.

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