All or Nothing!!
This is a great spiritual quote for the New Year and the motto of a young and courageous Sister Clare Crocket. The Holy Spirit led me to a video of her life a few months ago and it was so moving that I read the book about her, Alone with Christ Alone, which coincidentally just became available.
Clare grew up in Derry, Ireland in the 1980s. It was a volatile time in Derry that negatively impacted everyone, especially the young people who witnessed the guerilla war of partisan-stoked hatred. Day-to-day occurrences could include bombings, assassinations, and military surveillance. Her family was Catholic and growing up she prayed the Rosary every day, attended Mass, and received the Sacraments. Yet, she was basically going through the motions. There was no real connection to her and Jesus, the Holy Trinity, Mother Mary, and the Saints. She is quoted as saying, “There was no room for God in a society dominated by hatred.”
Clare was very exuberant and enjoyed being the center of attention. She had a natural gift for acting, singing, and incredible comic timing! Oh my goodness, she was so funny and could impersonate anyone! By the age of 15, she was chosen to host a show on Britain’s television network. Soon, film directors and producers in Great Britain and Hollywood were knocking at her door. A completely new world was within her grasp, filled with glamour, excitement, wealth, and earthly goods.
It just so happened that around that time she went on a journey that changed her life forever. A friend of hers was going on a group trip to Spain and became ill. She offered her ticket to Clare who happily accepted, envisioning a week of sunny beaches and parties in Spain! Yes, Clare liked to have fun, smoke, and have a few drinks. She describes herself as wild and superficial at that time. Clare was quite surprised and disappointed when she found out that the trip was actually a pilgrimage to a Monastery in Spain! This upset her but felt she had to go since the tickets were already paid.
The Home of the Mother organizes a retreat every year during Holy Week for families and young people. On Good Friday, she attended the service and watched people get in line to kiss the crucifix. She had never seen this before and joined the line. In Clare’s words: “That simple gesture of getting on my knees and kissing Jesus’ feet had a very strong impact on me. Tertullian wrote that ‘there is absolutely nothing which makes men’s minds more perplexed about the divine works than the disproportion between the simplicity of the means employed and the grandeur of the effect obtained.’ I had the certainty that the Lord was on the Cross for me. I felt a burning pain. I had to do something for Him who had given His life for me.”
Clare could not stop crying after this profound encounter with the Lord. She felt alone with Christ alone and realized that all her sins had nailed Jesus to the cross! She had killed God! She spoke to Fr. Rafael and said, “Father, I had planned to be a famous actress, but after this, I am confused because I think God wants me to become one of the Sisters.” She then asked Father if she could become a famous Sister! 🙂 Father Rafael talked to her about the importance of humility and obedience as well as the greatness of God’s love for her and the tremendous grace she had received from Him.
Clare became a religious Sister though the road was not easy. She had moments of darkness, confusion, and despair. For the remainder of her days, Sister Clare was a radiant and loving servant for the Lord. Her example of giving ALL to Jesus has and continues to touch millions of people. Many folks have written to her fellow Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother to share miracles they believe are attributed to her intercession. I think she could be a future Canonized Saint! You can watch her incredibly moving, joyful, faith-filled, and inspiring story here:
Along with her motto, “All or Nothing”, I love her quote: “Lord, grant me an undivided heart. Do not let anything ever enter in between Your heart and mine.” Her words give me pause… Where in my life have I allowed activities, bad habits, people, social media, attitudes, material things, or selfish desires to come between my heart and His? Although most of us are not called to religious life, we are called to become saints. Holy men and women who have come before us show us the importance of stripping away attachments so that our focus is primarily on Jesus. A couple of years ago, I learned something profound from the Walking with Purpose Bible Study, Keeping In Balance. It was recommended that we identify things we spend money on unnecessarily such as clothes, expensive coffee, getting our nails done, sports, etc., and not only delete these from our lives but then take that money saved and give it to those in need, like Catholic Charities. As St. Elizabeth Ann Seton said, “Live simply, so others may simply live.” This could also be applied to using our time unnecessarily and instead giving that time to the Lord in prayer or works of charity. Everything we strip away brings us closer to Him. As we draw nearer to the Lord, we experience a glimpse of the utter joy we will feel in Heaven united to Him forever.
Dearest Holy Spirit, Please show us what activities/people/things/behaviors separate us from Your Heart. Please give us the courage and strength to let go of these attachments so that we can serve You and our neighbor more fully.
Be assured of my prayers for you! God bless you all and hold you close!