A SINGULAR TEST
Why did they take the Bible from Claret in the Jesuit Novitiate in Rome? He entered the novitiate as a priest and took with him his personal Bible, pocket-sized and with small letters which he read every day. But the young novices had no personal Bible. The appreciation Claret had for his Bible been notable, and the superior or the formator removed this “singularity”. They submitted the novices to “tests” of obedience, the common life and personal detachment. Claret tells us that it pained him to find in his cell “all the books he needed, except the Bible”.
This deprivation of the Bible deeply affected Claret, as he still remembered it after 23 years when he wrote the autobiography. Perhaps with this Claret teaches something more than his love for the Word of God: the self- emptying he was submitted to while he was searching for his place in the Church. Surely, it happened to him, like as for certain saints whom God, from time to time, “conceals” himself, leading them -by the dryness of the desert – to a greater inner purification.
Jesus of Nazareth was not a scribe or doctor of the law but he knew the Jewish Bible so well that even his enemies recognized him as a Master. At school and in the worship of the synagogue he was initiated in the Scriptures. The Gospel of Luke says that, at the age of twelve, in the temple of Jerusalem, he amazed the doctors by his questions on religious topics (cf. Lk 2.46 -47), and that, at the beginning of his preaching in the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah and astonished his town people with his interpretation of the chosen passage (cf. Lk 4.14 -30).
For us, the person and the cause of Jesus, Christ and Lord, is the heart of the entire Bible. Claret, in his habit of Bible reading, was passionately seeking Jesus and the prophets who announced him and the Apostles who followed him.
What knowledge does each of us have of the Bible, and what do we look for and find in it?