“Within a month I will not have a chaplain… As I see the Brothers liking very much to have a Priest form the Congregation and I too want like them, I ask you to send to me a Priest in consultation with the Consulters. I and the Brothers too will appreciate it”.
(Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré, on 19 October, 1866, EC II, p. 1066).
TO LIVE IN THE FAMILY
In the 19th century all the bishops had a priest with them always. He was the one who was helping him to celebrate the Eucharist in the complicated ritual of that time; he used to be the secretary, etc. He was called “the chaplain”. In the beginnings of his stay in Madrid, Claret had the diocesan priests as “chaplains”. But his desire was to live with his Missionaries.
Already in 1866 two Claretian Brothers, not priests, live with their loving Founder; and since he had to stop his “chaplain”, Claret wants a priest of his Congregation to substitute him. It is normal that “the archbishop by force” never will have liked away from his Missionaries from Vic.
The “natural place” of Claret would have been “the mission house”, the group that God had given him to start the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on that day of 16 July, 1849. In our text Claret shows a great pleasure for these Brothers of him who govern with a great respect; he, the Founder, places himself joyfully to what the Superior General would decide.
In this sense the belongingness never impeded him to value and love others´ things. Claret was rather a man of many belongings; some are by his charismatic affinity and others are from the pastoral care entrusted with and other practical reasons; some were more permanent and others are more passing. When he leaves in 1868 from Spain for exile, the Congregation of the Missionaries will be his only point of reference.
As in a family each member has to be open and receive others, one has to behave in the same way with the spiritual “family” that God has given us as such: brothers or sisters of the charism. Sometimes, in our time, in the family level as well as in the religious life or congregational level, there are some who maintain a deeper and real relationship with an outer reality – whether it be a religious movement, cultural group…..- than with the vocational group to which one has been called.
Do I feel and nurture my human and spiritual relationship, mainly with the brothers whom God has given me? Or rather, do I live uprooted or uninterested to this way?