“True peace is not found in the retreat and withdrawal from the task which God wants to entrust to his servants. When the tasks come as a result of obedience or duty, one should not be afraid, they lead us to God.” (Carta Ascética que… escribió al presidente de uno de los coros de la Academia de San Miguel. Barcelona 1862, p. 20).
PEACE IN THE DAILY WORK
Emphasizing the reason for which one works, Fr. Claret sees a possible link between work and interior peace. There is no incompatibility between work and interior peace, but complementarity. He recognizes the importance of silence and recollection for interior peace, but however knows that work does not necessarily hinder it. Especially, a work performed out of obedience will never damage the spiritual sensitiveness of the worker.
Obedience is the fruit of love. (cf. Jn 15,14), it is the most authentic way of expressing it. Claret asserts that “action and suffering are the great proves of love” (Aut 424). This is experienced in the family setting where parents work for the good of their children simply because they love them, their vocation as parents makes them to accept the suffering that may be implied in the work – what counts is the motive! Forced work, which does not respond to a vocation but to mere necessity, may provoke interior tension and not be a source of peace.
It goes without saying that that was not Claret’s case; he liked what he was doing. He felt at home. Thus it is said of him that he was a “contemplative in action” or as Pope Pius XII rightly said on the occasion of his canonization, Claret walked “always in the presence of God even amidst his prodigious external activities”.
The work we perform based on the Christian vocation to transform the world or based on the evangelizing needs of the Church should give us interior peace; otherwise, we should question our understanding of work and rest. It is necessary to avoid vitiated work, workaholism, which is a translation of the flight from oneself and from God, avoiding silence and peace through which his voice can be heard.
How do I experience my condition as a worker? Do I manifest through it my vocation as a father or a mother of a family and as a member of Jesus’ family?