I heard it many times before. Claretians are missionaries who go to places where others would dare not go. Clever promotional pitch in a flyer posted in our school’s Guidance board. At that time, I was already accepted to join the Redemptorist seminary after my graduation. Yet for some mysterious reason I found (more…)
“Prayer is for man what the soul is for the body and what water is for the earth, it is the key to heaven. It is for man what weapons are for the soldier and just as the soldier without weapons is lost so also is the Christian without the holy weapon of prayer” (Diálogos sobre la oración, en T. DE VILLACASTÍN, Manual de Ejercicios Espirituales. Barcelona 1864; p. 13).
FAITH NEEDS FOOD
Specialized studies suggest that St. Anthony Mary Claret was not a great innovator but that he had the singular gift of selecting what was thought up by others, (more…)
“Jesus rode upon a donkey when He entered Jerusalem in triumph. I, too, gladly offer myself to Jesus to make use of me in his triumphant march over his enemies… ;of course, I know that the honors and praises I hear will not be for me, the donkey, but for Jesus, whose dignity I, though unworthy, bear”
This type of thought can, without great effort, keep us properly humble. We suffer a great deception when we step onto the stage to look down on others, believing the praise (more…)
“I will occupy myself in praising God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints as they are prayers and devotions and I will try to exhort my neighbour in virtue.” (Explicación de la Paloma [=Resumen de los principales documentos…]. Barcelona 1848; p. 24).
We are separated by more than a century. It seems incredible that Claret would see so clearly the rhythms of life we were experiencing today. We have his efforts to bring to light materials to give to Christians, above all lay people, that will help them to return to normal life following an intense experience like a retreat. (more…)
“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 (more…)
“I have here the ultimate and principal pledge that you need to be a good missionary: honour Mary and love God a lot.” (“Carta al misionero Teófilo”, en Sermones de Misión. Barcelona 1858, vol. I, p. 26).
THE TWO GREAT LOVES
When Claret was giving missions on Grand Canary he lamented the deficient formation of the priests of that island: it was of the Jansenist tendency. This was a very widespread trend in the 17th and 18th Centuries, which brought a rigorous morality to spirituality and a lamentable lack of the tenderness of God the Father. (more…)
“At the beginning of my stay in Vich I was undergoing an experience not unlike what goes on in a blacksmith’s shop. The smith thrusts an iron bar into the furnace and when it is white-hot he draws it out, places it on the anvil and begins to hammer it. His assistant joins in and the two of them keep alternating hammer-blows in a sort of rhythmic dance until the iron takes the shape the smith had planned. You, my Lord and Master, thrust my heart into the furnace of the Spiritual Exercises and frequent reception of the Sacraments; and after thus setting my heart on fire with love for you and the Blessed Virgin Mary, you began to hammer away at me with humiliations and I too began hammering away with my particular examen on this virtue that I needed so badly” (more…)
For years the Claretian Missionaries and other groups of the Claretian Family had been thinking about making a film about Saint Anthony Mary Claret. His life has all the necessary features to make it attractive and “edifying”, if this last adjective can still be used at a time when only the “villains” seem to enjoys good press. Perhaps the complexity of the character, the variety of settings in which he moved (Catalonia, Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, a number of places in Spain, Lisbon, Paris, Rome, Fontfroide) and, above all, the high costs involved in making a film ended up discouraging us. But everything began to change in the wake of the film “A forbidden God,” which tells the story of the Claretian martyrs of Barbastro. The good acceptance on the part of many people – not always on the part of a certain review that tends to disregard everything related to the Church – encouraged us to embark on the adventure (more…)
“I have never made a penny’s profit from the Works I have seen through the presses. On the contrary, I have given away thousands upon thousands of free copies. I am still doing so today and hope to be doing so until I die” (Aut 328).
PERSUASIVE POWER OF GRATUITY
In a consumer society like ours, gratuity, more than a value, is a suspect attitude. When anything can be bought or sold, it isn’t understood why anyone would offer something gratis, at least without looking for some kind of non-financial compensation. Nevertheless, the logic of evangelization is governed by other criteria: (more…)
“When I started preaching missions in 1840, we were in the midst of a civil war between the royalists and the constitutionalists, and so I had to be on my guard not to make any political remarks pro or con regarding wither party.” (Aut 291).
COMMITED TO EVERYONE
Claret was accused of being a politician by seeming ‘non-political’. He was very aware of the situation in which he was living. He valued the service that the politicians ought to contribute to the common good. But by the fact that he had felt, in his years as a popular preacher in Catalonia, (more…)