11 August

Aug 11, 2018 | Claret mit dir

“…my honourable Prelate D. Luciano Casadevall called me aside and gave me the letter of your Excellency and the appointment from the Minister for the Archdiocese of Cuba. Your Excellency, you cannot form an idea of the pain that broke my heart as this appointment does and this for two reasons, the first because I don’t like such dignities nor do I have competence for them, and the second because my apostolic plans are brought tumbling down…”
Letter to the Apostolic Nuncio, August 12 1849; EC I, q. 304S


This paragraph is from the letter sent by Claret to the Nuncio, on 11 August 1849, after receiving his unexpected appointment as Archbishop of Santiago of Cuba. It is a beautiful testimony for three qualities: simplicity, manifested in the aversion to hold positions of importance or to have distinctions and dignities; humility, recognizing with simplicity that he is not trained to take up such a responsibility; and missionary availability, since he prefers to work being sent by others, even in Cuba, for some time, and with colleagues.
Claret feared that such an appointment would frustrate his plans as an itinerant missionary. In those days, as in these, many priests or those responsible for pastoral ministry want “promotion”, or a better parish, or a more prominent position, sometimes causing divisions in the dioceses and parishes, jealousies, manipulations… How often – perhaps more in times past – one seeks benefits more than service or “office”.
When a missionary or pastoral agent understands their role as a position of power, they no longer serves the people to whom they have been sent, and, therefore, neither Jesus who sent them. It is necessary to keep alive the awareness of being a servant who has offered his whole life as a sacrifice on behalf of the people of God. Whoever recognizes this will keep the attitude of a humble servant.
Today, only those who serve others in a spirit of love, humility and sacrifice are worthy of credit; only they win the hearts of the people, and not those who cling to an activity as a possibility to exercise power. Itinerancy, which Claret prefers to stability, is another means of attracting people: it is the attitude of those who go to meet others, spend time with them, welcome and accept them… ¡Beautiful transparency of the attitudes of Jesus! Claret keeps them especially present to us today.



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