“All those who hunger and thirst not after justice or any personal merit, but simply for the favor of some job, post, or dignity, besiege my house every day and pester me with their ambitions and pretensions. I have to tell them all that it cuts me to the quick not to be able to please them, but that I have made it a rule never to meddle in these matters”
AGAINST ALL THE “TRAFIQUING OF INFLUENCES”
In the agenda of Claret during his 11 years of stay in Madrid as royal confessor, there appears a time dedicated for the audiences; this is the time employed in receiving all sorts of persons who asked for an appointment with the holy archbishop. It was one of the greatest crosses he was bearing with the people; certainly, some of the persons were seeking some guidance for their lives; but others wanted to make use of the influence of Claret to get favours from the queen or politicians and to the latter he was denying absolutely. He did not try, not even permitted his name to be converted into the source of benefits or privileges in the royal palace of Madrid. He did it neither for him personally nor for others. Never! He did not admit for him any privilege, not even a minimum of a material gift, “When I retired from the palace, I had the great satisfaction of being able to say that I had nothing from Her Majesty, not even a pin” (Auto. 634). Claret knew that the gifts enslave and deprive freedom in the course of time; and this is inescapable.
It is difficult to maintain oneself free amidst the crowd of opportunities that beset short cuts to prosper. It is not easy to tell “yes” when it is “yes” and “no” when it is “no” without being tied up to the conveniences resulting from the favours granted. Sometimes this sort of “giving” by believing in “receiving” the retribution is very much tempting. It is very tempting and very much human, still more in our society very much commercialized where everything is for sale. It is a reality that can be sneaked even to distort the very religious sentiment: How many “vows”, promises, many candles y lamps, “chains” of prayers, are in fact a small or big business we want to do with God and saints?
Claret has left to us a fine example of patience – when receiving persons who wanted only to make use of his important office – and also of detachment and rectitude with all the trials on his way of carrying out his public responsibility.