I CAN DO ALL THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES ME STRENGHT (Phil 4: 13)
Claret’s vocation was to preach the Gospel. He identified with Christ the evangelizer who travelled through villages and hamlets in the company of the community of his disciples. “I am ever more deeply impressed at the thought of Jesus moving from town to town, preaching everywhere-not just in big cities, but in little villages” (Aut. 221).
It is impossible to contemplate Jesus the evangelizer without realizing immediately that he was persecuted. They did not only try to neutralize his word, but some tried to eliminate him (Lk 13, 31; Jn 11, 50). Claret expresses it thus: “And how He was persecuted! He was a sign of contradiction, persecuted for his teaching, his works, and his very person. Finally, they took his life…” (Aut 222).
How is it possible to gladly go to preach when one knows that his life is in danger? Or, what makes it possible to overcome fear? When Fr. Claret tells us that his models of evangelization were Jesus himself, the apostles and prophets who spoke in the name of God and the saints who were dedicated to the propagation of the Word, he concludes saying: “I used to feel such a burning within me that I couldn’t sit still. I had to get up and run from one place to another, preaching continually.” That fire was stronger than threats and risks.
He identified with the experience of Paul the evangelizer whose expression he adopted as his episcopal motto: “The love of Christ urges us” (“Cor 5, 14), and also with Jeremiah’s expression for whom “his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones” (Jer 20, 9). This made him to triumph over all opposition.
Do the difficulties I encounter in living or bearing witness to my faith discourage me or are they privileged occasions for growth in the desire to evangelize? Where do I find strength to overcome fears?