Reflections

ANY MOMENT IS TIMELY

When Claret was appointed as royal confessor, he poured out himself to a friend in a letter, “Me! Confessor to the queen?….. Leave me alone to hear confession of the simple rural and uneducated people; there are many to be confessors of the queens” (EC I, p. 1334ff).

Claret was deeply marked by the well known saying of Jesus, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, He has annointed me to bring give Good News to the poor” (Lk 4:18). He meditated and wrote it repeatedly, paying attention not only to the sending and the consoling character of the message, but also to the poor as the recipients. This practice of catechising the simple people, adopted in his missionary life in Cataluña, would continue also as the archbishop in Cuba (1851-1857). “With the Lord’s help, I saw to the needs of the poor. Every Monday of the year, as long as I was in Cuba, I gathered together the poor of whatever town I happened to be in and gave each person there a peseta; but since they were often poorer in spirit than in the flesh, I first instructed them personally in Christian doctrine…..the Lord has indeed given me a heartfelt love of the poor” (Auto. 562).

Along with this message of love for the poor, the autobiographical passage we meditate today presents us with the call to make use of all the occasions to evangelize. Among his retreat resolutions, Claret formulates sometimes about “not losing a single minute”. He dedicated all his time even when he had to remain in bed many weeks because of the murder attempt suffered in Holguin (Cuba 1856); and even there he spent time to bring out new channels of apostolate; it was then he got the idea of founding “The Academy of St. Michael”, an organization of the laity for the evangelization of the cultural world. His anxiety was oriented to both the educated and uneducated. He brought honour to his Episcopal motto, “The Love of Christ urges me”; he copied it from Paul (2Cor 5:14), another person who was a ‘fool’ for evangelization.