This Advent, one of the books I’m reading is “Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love,” by Ilia Delio, O.S.F. Being a relative newbie on the St. Anthony Messenger Press staff, I’m trying to gain a better understanding of Franciscan spirituality, and thought Clare would be a good place to start.
I’m only a third into the book. These first chapters have dealt with poverty, both the poverty of God and of being human. Delio writes, “Poverty is the language of love.” Why? As Delio further writes, poverty “is not so much about want or need; it is about relationship….It impels us to empty our pockets—not of money—but the pockets of our hearts, minds, wills—those places where we store up things for ourselves and isolate ourselves from real relationship with others.”
Reading this book is the perfect Advent fare. Especially this week, I’m a bit overwhelmed with the fuss and bother of Christmas preparation. Though I know what the season should be about, I can’t help getting caught up in the “doing” of Christmas preparation, rather than in the being that is the essence of Advent waiting.
But these past few days, at least for the time that I spend reading about Clare, I’ve been practicing emptiness.
Like the empty mangers we’ve been seeing in many of the crèches set up this Advent, waiting for the infant Jesus to be placed on Christmas Eve, I want my heart to be empty to fully receive the gift we celebrate on Christmas—Emmanuel, God with us.