The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul (1245-1247) - 419 

As they waited, the blessed father remained in silence within thecircleof ashes, and real amazement grew in their hearts. Suddenly he got up, and to their great surprise, recited the "Have mercy on me, God," Ps 51:3 [Vulgate, Ps 50:3] instead of a sermon. As he finished it, he left quickly. The handmaids of God were so filled with contrition by the power of this mime that they were flowing with tears, and could hardly restrain their hands from punishing themselves. By his action he taught them to consider themselvesashes, and that nothing else was close to his heart except what was in keeping with that view.

This was his way of behaving with holy women;
this was his way of visiting them
rare and constrained, but very useful!
This was his will for all the brothers,
whom he wanted to serve
for the sake of Christ, whom they serve:
that they might always, like winged creatures,
beware of the nets before them. Prv 1:17




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 419