THE WORD, QUEEN OF THE WORLD
When St. Paul finally bids farewell to the elders of Ephesus, he indicates that their task is to be ‘responsible for God’s flock’ reminding them of the fidelity with which he has tried to fulfil his own commission as apostle and reckons he will continue to carry it out: ‘I put no value on my life if I can only complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus’ (Acts 20: 24). At a delicate time in his life, Fr. Claret had to seriously discern as to whether to continue to subject himself to specific persecutions or not; on putting this reflection into writing he said, like Paul, that his life was not more important than carrying forward the ministry of the Word received from the Lord Jesus. (cf. EC III, p. 504).
Claret was born to preach. A modern biography has accurately entitled the life of Claret, I cannot keep quiet. He was happy when preaching as many as ten or twelve sermons in a day. When he as obliged to be present at an official banquet, he was wanting it to finish ‘to run to the pulpit’, as that was his ‘most delicious food’ (EC II, p. 351).
According to Genesis, when man named the animals, he took possession of them. The philosopher Heidegger says that, through language, man is made owner of the world, ‘shepherd of being’. And the letter of James affirms the immense energy of the word that can give life or destroy: ‘We use the tongue to bless God, our Father, and also to curse those made in God’s likeness’ (James 3:9) We should frequently ask what use we make of this formidable faculty that the Creator put in us. Claret was a magician with the word; he preached sermons lasting up to an hour and kept the audience captivated. He glorified God with his word and offered ways of life to his brothers. A good course for us!