26 September

Sep 26, 2018 | Claret With You

*259.- “Perhaps it will seem strange that I dare to speak about agriculture and with admiration they will say, ‘What is it coming to that a Prelate busies himself with these topics when his field is Sacred Theology, Canon Law and Christian morals. There is no doubt that this is my principle obligation. I don’t consider it unreasonable to involve myself in the propagation and perfection of agricultural methods as it has a powerful influence on the improvement of habits which is my principle mission. Also for the abundance and happiness that it brings to the men that I am obliged to care for as far as I can and who I love so much.”
Reflexiones sobre la Agricultura, en St. Clar 10 (1992) 144 y en EP BAC, Madrid, 1998, pp. 293-294


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?

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