“In works, calumnies, persecutions…, if these are well suffered and virtues are exercised, then many merits are received, the neighbor is enriched; the Lord pours out many and big understandings and consolations. Oh, what a happy and joyful persecutions and calumnies that have brought to me many graces and heavenly consolations” (The consolation of a despised soul, Barcelona 1864, p. 32).
FORTITUDE IN ADVERSITY
The words of Father Claret: “if these are well suffered”, making reference to persecutions, they invite us to examine our attitudes in the face of adversity in general. Claret thinks of persecution as a consequence of being faithful to the call of the Gospel. Especially during his time in Cuba and Madrid, his determination to sow the Word of God brought to him calumnies and assassination attempts. In the face of this Claret had the firm conviction of faith, not only by accepting piously the will of God, but also he was convinced that it was a normal reaction of an unjust world to the corrections of the gospel. In his first discernment to become an itinerant missionary he had already been aware of “the terrible and horrific persecutions that would come up against me” (Aut 116).
The base of this intrepidity of Father Claret was his life well rooted in Jesus. “The servant is not greater than his love. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (Jn 15, 20). His option for a personal identification with Jesus (cf. Aut 444.6) obliged him to share the consequences of the preaching of the Kingdom. His attitude in front of these understandable denial did not cage him up in a world of bitterness or pessimism, but they helped him to understand to perceive better the greatness of the cause and to give himself more to it with more greater enthusiasm.
Faithfulness to the love of Jesus (“the love of Christ urges me” was his Episcopal motto) totally overpowered Claret in such a way that his determination to evangelize sounded always for him to go further more; even though persecutions also went further more. After narrating the joy of the cruel assassination attempt in his life in Holguin, he speaks of his peculiar “hopes”: this raised the point further, thinking that this was a sign of what will be achieved with time, which is, to spill all the blood and consume the sacrifice with death” (Aut 577).
What didn’t have any place in the life of Claret – and shouldn’t have any place in our own lives- is not giving oneself wholly or living in sadness. The cause is so noble that it can only be assumed with a constant growing enthusiasm even in the midst of setbacks that may come up.