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Enclosed Life


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Enclosed Life


Enclosure among the Poor Clare Sisters is not an end in itself, but an instrument of safeguarding life in God. Contemplation and enclosure are closely related. In this sense, enclosure has its full meaning when it is lived as a space relationship.The enclosure should help the person in every dimension ~ mind, heart and body ~ to maintain a privileged, intense relationship with the person of the Lord Jesus and with the world.

Enclosure of the heart helps the Poor Clare to widen the spaces of her heart.  By her hidden life of prayer and penance she can love with a free heart; free because closely joined to Jesus and in Him to all those brothers and sisters for whom Jesus gave His life.  Like St. Clare, our lives of prayer make us “co-workers of God and a support for the frail members of the Body of Christ”

(St Clare) 

The Enclosure is not four walls protecting us from the outside world. Its value exists in what goes on within this confined space. For us, the enclosure becomes an opening to the whole universe and the whole world of humanity. Our real enclosure is within our hearts where we find Christ and His power and love.

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Special Way


Special Way


Enclosure is a special way of “being intimate with the Lord”, participating in his self-emptying in a form of radical poverty. God is chosen as “the one thing needful”. By loving Him exclusively, the dimensions of the monastery extend over the immense horizons. They open to the love of God that embraces everyone.

 

“Enclosure is not only a means of immense value for achieving recollection but a sublime way of participating in Christ’s Paschal Mystery. The vocation to the cloister is rooted in the Eucharistic mystery, encouraging participation in Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice for the salvation of all.”    

(Pope St. John Paul 11 to Poor Clares, Bologna 1997)

 

 We made a free decision to live out our lives within the enclosure.   In doing so, we fulfill and follow the very deep yearning that God placed within our hearts. 
We give our whole lives in loving and adoring Our Eucharistic Lord…. 


“Love Him who gave Himself totally for our Love”

(St. Clare)

Simple as our lives are, they become very deep as we live in intimate contact with the deep mysteries of God’s love, very like Our Lady at Nazareth, whom we take as our model and inspiration.

“Stay close to this sweetest Mother, who gave birth to such a Son as the heavens cannot contain, but whom she held in the little enclosure of her holy womb and had carried on her lap”

(St. Clare) 

This quotation of St. Clare gives us insight into Clare’s understanding of “enclosure”. Physical enclosure was not an end in itself; it was a means towards interior union with Christ, living within her heart and being. 

Christ absorbed her whole mind, thought, love and attention. Nothing could disturb or distract her undivided attention to him. 

We need the help of physical enclosure, of silence, of detachment, to attain this inner union with the “still point” within, where Christ is,  in the midst of this restless and noisy world.