Presentation of the Bicentennial edition (2007)
Opening your heart to the story of another person’s life is always an enriching experience, often exciting. The events narrated along with the various resonances that they found in that person’s heart, turn into messages of life for those of us who, as readers, welcome, with great respect, the testimony that we are offered.
Anthony Maria Claret wrote the story of his own life because he was asked to do so by someone who had been deeply inspired by it and hoped eagerly that it remained an inspiration source to many others. It was hard for him to accept that request but he finally decided to do so because the one who was pleading with him, was Father Joseph Xifré, the superior of the Congregation of Missionaries that he himself had founded. Anthony Maria Claret in his autobiography left us a living testimony of those events and experiences that marked his life and directed his tireless apostolic work.
Claret’s life, like every human being’s life, had its moments of light and darkness. Reading the Autobiography shows it gradually to us. It is important for us to become a “travelling companion” in order to gather all the strength of the testimony offered to us.
It is crucial to discover the master guidelines that inspired his life and that become clearer, in different ways, at different stages of his lifetime. Reading the autobiography takes us into the spiritual experience of a man who let himself be questioned and guided by the Word of God. He was a man who felt a strong call to dedicate his life to preaching the Gospel and who knew how to involve many others in that work. The Autobiography allows us to take a deep look into the person and see how the Spirit of the Lord was guiding him to horizons of holiness and apostolic commitment.
The Autobiography of St. Anthony Mary Claret has had already many editions in different languages. A large number of people from different countries and cultural backgrounds have been able to approach those truthful pages written by someone who passionately lived for Christ and proclaimed the Gospel. Spanish language editions have already been exhausted. Petitions, however, kept coming calling for a new edition. It is a joy to put it now in your hands, dear reader. Father Jesus Bermejo, a sound expert on St. Anthony Maria Claret, and the Claretian Spirituality Center team working in Vic (Spain) have made a revision of the text and notes and have prepared some educational materials to facilitate a deeper understanding of the pages of the autobiography. I hope that contact with Claret’s testimony will touch your heart and provoke in it a true love for Jesus and a burning desire to work for the Kingdom.
Let me put this new edition on Mary’s hands, and even better in her Heart, by which St. Anthony Maria Claret felt so loved and accompanied in his growth in faith and his missionary commitment.
Rome, April 2, 2007
JOSEP M. ABELLA
Superior General of the Claretian Missionaries