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Wednesday, 11 May 2016 17:38

I'm Willing to Lay Down My Life for You

Carlos Iván Torres León, Ecuador:

carlostorresSr. Clare said, “I ask the Lord to grant me the grace, so that if the moment comes for me to lay down my life for Him, I will be able to do it, and not be a coward or let myself be overcome by my fears.

Carlos Iván Torres León is from Guayaquil, Ecuador and is very close to the Home of the Mother. He met Sr. Clare when she was in the community of Guayaquil.

Before beginning to write about Sr. Clare, I want to say that I had the blessing of meeting the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother as soon as they founded a community in Guayaquil. The Servant Sisters arrived here to be light, to be holy and to help others to do the same, in the mission that the Lord has entrusted to them. Sr. Clare had this clear from the moment she arrived in Ecuadorian lands.

The community of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother is a true blessing for me. It always struck me that, although they are so different among themselves, they live their vocation as if they were one hand. What do I mean by this? Just as the hand has five fingers, and one finger may be bigger than the others or may be more active, etc., together they have one function in the body. That’s how the Servant Sisters are. Each one has her own character and personality, very different from the others, but they are always united in the community, in their vocation, in their mission. Sr. Clare, because of her personal characteristics, was one who transmitted much joy with the artistic gifts that the Lord had granted her. She became an authentic Servant Sister, for the glory of God and for apostolate. Without a doubt, this was evident for whoever had the grace of knowing her well.

When I saw the video in honor of Sr. Clare, I can say that the girl who said she wanted to be a “famous nun” was the same Sr. Clare that I met during her time in Guayaquil. The same gestures, the same spontaneity. It was her, but now she has traveled considerably down the path of the struggle for holiness.

I remember that what stood out about her was her joy, her artistic gifts, and her love of God and Our Lady. I think what distinguished her was her authenticity and her simplicity in being herself. This is what she transmitted at all times. I remember that in the Holy Week Encounter in Play Prieta, the topic of dying for God came up, dying in the little things of our everyday life to be faithful in the bigger things in the face of trial. Sr. Clare said, “I ask the Lord to grant me the grace, so that if the moment comes for me to lay down my life for Him, I will be able to do it, and not be a coward or let myself be overcome by my fears. It’s easy to say this now, giving a talk. Real nice. And we get all excited and say ‘Yes, Lord! Yes, I’m willing to lay down my life for You!’ But when I think about it seriously, I mean really seriously, I don’t know how I would react in the moment I have to give my life for Him. I hope to have enough strength to die and remain faithful to Him. I want to give my life for Him. It’s difficult, but it’s necessary to make the effort to be faithful in those little moments, beginning with small things.”

Hearing her speak like this really impacted me, because we often think that consecrated people are always brave, made of steel, without any fears… we forget that they are human beings just like the rest of us. Sister was sincere about what she said, without putting on any masks, and showing her humanity. This made it possible for many people to feel identified with what she was saying. Who isn’t going to be afraid in the face of danger? It’s normal. It’s human. But it is God who gives the grace to carry on and remain faithful.

Another of her characteristic was the fact that she always tried to do everything with God and for God, just like any Servant Sister. She wanted everything she did to go unnoticed and for everyone’s attention to be centered on God, on Jesus hidden in the tabernacle, especially in the liturgy. One time, the chairs had been arranged in a way that would make it easier for those who had to sing in Mass. It also made the choir more visible to the rest of the congregation. When Sr. Clare saw these changes, she started to move the chairs to where they were before. Some people asked her, “Why are you moving the chairs around? Where they were, it would be easier for the singers and the people can see you better.” She responded, “That’s exactly what I don’t want. It’s not a concert for people to come and hear us sing. We come here to sing for God, not to shine before men. They have to see God, who is there (pointing at the tabernacle). That’s where they need to direct their attention.” That response demonstrates the purity of her attention, her doing things for the glory of God.

These brief stories that I share are stories that I treasure in my heart and remember with affection. Sr. Clare’s story makes us turn our gaze to the Lord. Her joy, simplicity, humility, authenticity, transparency, and above all, her love for God and the Blessed Virgin, have made her a “famous Servant Sister.”

Sr. Clare’s life has left us these lessons and many more.

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