This text shows the multifaceted personality of Fr. Claret who was not only a preacher, writer, administrator of sacraments and healer but also an expert in agriculture. They show us how far his flexibility reached and how his many sided dedication was such that he cooperated in the good of others. He had a special talent to understand the needs of people and to look for a suitable solution.
Claret did not learn about agriculture at home as his family were weavers. But in Cuba he had to widen his knowledge particularly to help those people, most of whom were peasant farmers. It’s possible he thought this was the most urgent and timely apostolate at that moment. He well knew that it is difficult to offer religious ideals and criteria on empty stomachs.
It is certainly unusual that a bishop occupies himself with agricultural matters. In many missionary contexts it is easy to understand that there are places where the missionary is everything: he becomes the postman, nurse, banker, lawyer, etc., especially where the political and social organization does not look after these things. It is clear that not everybody is prepared for this. Neither was Claret, but he took the trouble to prepare himself!
Fortunately we now know that salvation is not merely the ‘salvation of souls’ (as it was said in Claret’s day, although he rose above his own language!). Evangelization has as its objective the realization of God’s plan, the glory of God which consists in ‘letting the man live’ (St. Ireneus). This is not a private matter.
Only love allows this ‘incarnated’ closeness, this communion with the joys and hopes of those who hear the Gospel. Only love will ensure that the missionary does not become a comfortable bureaucrat with a superior status. What social sensibility do you and I have? Do we need to increase or rectify it?