“How narrow and depressed is the human heart to receive that which is opposing and painful to its earthly inclinations! How indignant he is with his work…! How impatient he receives them, how unbearable he judges everything that opposes his pleasure! How easily he forgets that his Master and Lord suffered them first and passed them on and sanctified them in himself!” Intentions of the year 1864, en AEC pp. 674-675
THE SCIENCE OF THE HEART
Claret took up these thoughts of M. Agreda, a spiritual writer of the XVII century for his personal reflection. But as just a young missionary he himself wrote in 1844 a brief treatise with another key and with advice for whoever may share his vocation: “Advice to a priest”. There he touches also the theme of the heart (p. 12; or in EE p. 244). Of course, his interest was not on cardiology but this mystery that we carry inside and which in turn leads us with its vital impulses, emotions, love and pains: the centre of our personality, of our dynamisms and of our misfortunes.
Claret invites us to the school of the science of the heart. It’s about a science that is indispensable for a missionary who dedicates his life for the good of others; he needs the knowledge of his own heart, with its narrowness, ambitions, lack of patience, etc. From there, for the disciple who is nourished with the Word of God nothing is more important for him than love. This is why Claret recommends: take time out, like the divine Master, to pray a little alone, to acquire, by meditating on the pains of the Crucified Jesus, that science of the heart without which your word would only be like the sound of a bell. (ib.).
In order that the Good News flows from the heart with clarity and efficiency, we have to get closer to the source from where it springs: the merciful Heart of Jesus. Knowing how, in this heart, the devotion to love that reaches all of us and converts us into a family of brothers, is elaborated in all its expressions. Knowing, in prayer and contemplation before the Crucified, what it means to suffer for love and devotion for others with one’s life with generosity and peace that only love makes possible. Only the science of the heart gives meaning and direction to the life of the missionary, no matter his charismatic identity. A science that is very necessary in times full of violence!
Therefore it is good to ask ourselves, how is the presence of the cross of Jesus, like seed of love, in our lives. Without it, is the road of the missionary disciple possible?