Most of us spend our whole lives working towards security. We work to make sure that ourselves and our children are equipped with food, shelter, clothing, and savings. This is the work of a lifetime for most people... and takes up the majority of the daily workman's concentration. Truly, we are very sad indeed when we haven't a daily income to rely on!
However, the very poor have neither food, nor homes, nor work... they lack the security that we hold so dear. The Poor Clares also lack this security. They give it up for the sake of following the beatitudes and empathizing with the poor. Jesus said: "Do not worry about what you shall eat or wear or drink." This is exactly the aim of a religious. She is making a self-gift so complete that her concentration is entirely on God, and not on herself. As she works, she asks for nothing in return. As she prays for many, she does not take into account whether she has alms enough to buy the next day's daily bread. She always wears the same poor habits, and needn't worry whether they are the fashion of the day. She willingly suffers cold and heat and poorness of shelter for the love of God. This is the joy of a Poor Clare.
Because she lives entirely for God, she knows He will provide for her. The Poor Clares rely on God's providence, and He does provide for them, bringing good people from near and far to help them as they live the Gospel Message. They live the lives of pilgrims, taking with them little on their journey. Like St. Paul, they work for a livelihood and at the same time demand nothing. They are prepared to give even those small things they have (not possess, for they possess nothing but Christ) to whoever should ask for them. After they have done a full day's
work, they need to humbly ask for their bread, for theirs is not a life of buying and selling.
Perhaps the most significant form of a Poor Clare's poverty is her lack of security in worldly things. She gives up all her possessions, yes, but even in the necessities of life that are given her she has no security except in Christ. Picture for a moment the poor man St. Francis who, leaving his home, had nothing but one worn habit. With just his own person to carry with him, (and this his soul did grudgingly), he went barefooted through the towns and fields to preach and ask for food. This man who could have had a lifetime security of food and clothes gave up all this for the blessed possession of Nothing. But he was free to praise and serve God with every inch of his being! He was free to go wherever God should call him!
This beautiful and perfect vocation is only given to a few... a few who God takes as His own personal servants and clothes and feeds as He sees fit. A few who live like the flowers in the fields without worry or care as to what they shall eat, drink, or wear, or where they should live. A few who's one possession is He in whom all the world is possessed. A few who's love is so deep that they need nothing but this love to move them to heroism. A few who have forgotten themselves completely in their one focus of Christ.