“Ignorance in matters of religion is great nowadays, almost general; and the worst part is that there are very many who take pleasure in it. They prefer the darkness to the light; they like vices more than virtues and are tempted by the gross pleasures before them, they don’t care nor want to care for the pleasures of heaven which the Lord has promised and prepared for them if they believe and act as he has commanded them.”(El ferrocarril. Barcelona 1857, p. 79).
THE SEDUCTION OF EVIL
He continues to sing although without the success of former times. Neither does his life appear to have followed very closely the principals of justice and equality that he once defended loudly, but here is his song: ‘Leave me in peace, I don’t want to save myself, in hell it will not be so bad! His words sounded – and still sound – powerful.
What would Claret say today, if in his days he was scandalized by the ignorance in religious matters? An ignorance in which, as he suggests, there is much irresponsibility and deliberation. But it is also true, and the II Vatican Council expressly and solemnly noted it, that this ignorance and this detachment has often to be seen as due to the inconsistency and bad example of the baptized.
The evolution of many societies had allowed each individual to be able to choose which path he follows in life. We come to the conclusion that there are relationships that are not needed. Others, however, have a strong attraction. We often remind ourselves that Jesus invited us to be as simple as doves but perhaps we forget that he also exhorted us to cultivate the astuteness of serpents. A phrase used by Claret in the 19th Century sounds very current in the 21st: ‘the priest who works without meekness serves the devil and not Jesus Christ. Not a few times a bad temperament or anger or lack of meekness are hidden by a mask of zeal’ (Aut. 376) Somebody came to say later, ‘the letter with blood enters, but not of him who learns but of him who teaches’.
Here this stays. We help people to be responsible for their actions, to accept the consequences of saying yes or no to the Word of God and to the crosses of their brothers but we also maintain our vigil: with God, the heart of a son, with ourselves, the heart of a judge, with our neighbour, the heart of a mother.
What reaction does the option of so many people for unbelief, for disinterest in the religious, provoke in you? What can you offer those who do not share our faith?