THE FORCE OF THE WORD
Claret was 20 years old when, while the looms distracted him at Mass, he remembered these words of Jesus. At that time, in Barcelona, he specialised in making cloth, which fascinated him.
According to the synoptic gospels (Mk 8:37, Mt 16:26, Lk 9:25), Jesus said this to his first disciples in order that they would not delude themselves with ideas and plans which would impede their following him but instead pursue his Cause: “What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?” This question ended up in the Gospels and made Claret realise what happens to all of us when we fix our hearts on things, hobbies or projects which absorb our dreams and energy and sap the life from our relationship with God, with Jesus and with our neighbour.
In his ‘whirling of ideas’ Jesus called to the young Claret’s heart and put it in a ‘state of conversion’. Thus began his formidable transformation. And to those of us whom Claret recounts this experience of his, it raises the need we all have for ‘personal conversion’ to Jesus and his Cause.
Without opening our own hearts to Jesus, that his Spirit might move us to follow him, living his Gospel and promoting his Cause in our daily life, our Christianity will deteriorate and therefore our Church would come to crisis.
Could it not be this lack of ‘personal conversion’ to Jesus, and his project for life, dignity and happiness for all, which is the greatest cause of crisis in the Church in our times?