Claret speaks of his “polyvalent” heart: an obedient and spousal heart toward God, severe with himself and loving and compassionate toward his neighbour. He did not make himself the centre of his heart, but there he placed God and his neighbour. This reminds me of a poor mother I once saw while waiting for the train. She cooked the little rice that she had in a pot and shared it between her husband and her child while she satisfied herself with water.
Sacrificial love is the only kind that can give stability to a life; if there were no mothers in the world who make sacrifice, the world could not be sustained. Claret, the missionary, had the loving heart of a mother, possibly reflecting mother Church. Every human being has from birth the capacity of maternal tenderness and compassion, but these, very often, do not develop fully.
A motherly heart is wide open but when the ego is situated at centre stage, one closes in on himself at the same time as being aggressive to others. The cult of the ego has been the main root of hatred, violence and so many wars in the world. If we were able to develop our capacity for tenderness and compassion toward the other as did Claret, there would be more peace, more justice and equality in the world. We all need to know that we are given a heart so as to place God and neighbour in it. To have God at the centre of the heart is crucial to experience his love. Being full and softened by divine love is how one will be capable of looking at the other with loving compassion. It is a grace which we should ask for constantly, as Claret desired the gift of love and received it as a grace (cf. Aut 447)
Blessed Teresa of Kolkata once said: “What matters is not what you do but how much love you put into what you do”. If love doesn’t seep into our activities, what difference do we make to the rest of the world?