CLARET, A ‘FUGITIVE’
Claret is just over a month away from his death. He doesn’t know it but he senses it. His health is dwindling, broken. He has lived an intense, full and devoted life, he has lived and given of himself so that others may have Life. Claret was a men committed to his vocation as an Apostolic Missionary. On the 9th July 1841 the Holy See had granted him this title. Although this is generally considered to be an honorific title, Claret interpreted it as a definition of his identity, just as in the Bible the imposition of a new name signifies a new vocational direction. Claret feels sent and puts his life at the service of the Gospel in the ‘style’ of the apostles, in a life of fraternity poverty, availability and intinerancy. Maria Antonia Paris, through an inner experience without yet knowing Claret, had already given him this title: ‘Whilst at prayer one night…. Our Lord told me, indicating to me with his finger Mosen Claret as if I could see him there between Our Lord and me ‘My daughter, this is that apostolic man that you have asked me for with so many tears and over so many years’. (Autob. M. París, nº19).
Now Claret, in exile and persecuted, alone, sick, pursued, seeing himself as a fugitive from justice for reasons that don’t fit with him, does not want to prejudice his Missionaries. It shows yet again the greatness of his spirit: he prefers to put space between them so that if they arrest anyone, it would be him alone.
In a letter to Maria Antonia Paris on the 21st July 1869, 15 months before his death, fully involved in the I Vatican Council, Claret says, ‘It can be said that now the plans that the Lord had for me have been fulfilled. Blessed be God. I hope that what I have done has been pleasing to God.’ (EC II, p. 1411).
Will I be able to say at the end of my life, as Claret did, that I have fulfilled the dream that God had for me? Where do I have to start for this to become a reality?