THE GIFT OF BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE FAMILY
Nobody comes into this world alone. You are born into a family, as a son or daughter and, in many cases, you have brothers and sisters. The paternal-filial and fraternal relationships are so intimate that we suffer deeply when someone of the family suffers and we are intimately happy with their joys. Our family ties are like a mirror in which we see ourselves in the other. The sense of belonging and responsibility towards the other are not elements that are added but rather natural ties that are born and remain until death. In this sense the family is the first school and the parents are the first teachers.
When Fr. Claret tells us about his eleven brothers and sisters he explains the mutual relationship between them. From his eldest sister he received special love (Aut. 6.1). She started him on his Marian devotion. When his elder brother John had a stroke Fr. Claret helped him economically as well as he was able. He had much trust in his younger brother, Jose, and he stayed in his house in Olost at some critical moments. This in turn helped him be aware of the political and social situation with regard to his missionary travels. His younger sister, Maria, with that name inspired Fr. Claret to closeness and filial devotion to the Virgin Mary. As she helped Mosen Claret in the Parish of Sallent she had the grace to learn from her brother the virtues that he practiced. The youngest brother, Manuel, was ‘much loved’ by the saint.
To be a son and a brother is a gift and a commitment. It is a gift to share joys and hopes and also sorrows with others, feeling accompanied, supported and consoled. Take with you the commitment to care for others and it educates you for a better social life. Living with others and the experience of their understanding are decisive factors in the building up of the person, in the ability for friendship, for future collaboration, in the world of business and in social concerns; what is ‘lived within’ is often decisive to then know how to behave on the outside.