TO HOLINESS THROUGH LOVE
‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’ (Lk 6:36). Luke the Evangelist transmits these words of Jesus to us, which were directed to his disciples and to all who heard him. Later, at the Last Supper, taking his leave of his own, he opened his heart to them and entrusted the new commandment to them: ‘Love one another! Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.’ (Jn 13.34) And, through the gesture of washing their feet (cf. Jn 13: 1ff), he wanted to show them in what way they could translate this law of love which should govern their lives from this moment.
Christian perfection consists in loving God and neighbour, and in allowing oneself to be guided by this love. An excellent commentary on this text from ‘El egoísmo vencido’ [Triumph over selfishness] is offered by Fr Claret himself in his autobiography. There he speaks to us of his irresistible desire that God be known, loved and served. ‘O my God and my Father, may I know you and make you known; love you and make you loved; serve you and make you served; praise you and make all creatures praise you’ (Aut 233). To this desire is added the passion he feels for man and his happiness: ‘My neighbour, I love and cherish you for a thousand reasons. I love you because God wants me to love you… I love you because God himself loves you. I love you because God has created you in his image for the life of heaven. I love you because you have been ransomed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I love you because of all that Jesus Christ has done and suffered for you. To prove my love for you, I will strive and suffer; I will undergo any work or pain, even death, if necessary…’ (Aut 448). On a day like today, in 1950, Claret was proclaimed a Saint, he was canonised. This bears witness to the fact that his desires which we recall were not fruitless feelings but a profound energy which ruled his life.
God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God. Whoever lets himself be guided by love will never lose. This is the great teaching of Jesus. This is the way which fulfils the deepest desires of the human heart.