AN IDEAL CLARETIAN FOR COMMUNITY
St. Anthony Mary Claret describes in his Autobiography the persons who accompanied him to carry out his Episcopal ministry in the diocese of Santiago de Cuba, a diocese “full of thorns and thistles” (Auto. 606). He remembers them lovingly and gratefully. He describes his apostolic activities, remembers their almost cloistered monastic timetable in the house and narrates the type of fraternal relationship that was reigning among them. The outsiders admired them when they saw them. Claret gave all the merit to God, “The finger of God is here”.
It is possible to distinguish between a team for work and a missionary community. What distinguishes them is the degree of mutual loyalty, fraternal living and the corresponsibility taken up with a true spirit. Thus the progress towards the aim, the objectives and final destination is achieved. When this spirit is missing, there can be a lot of work, but there will not be the spirit that gives the generous commitment in view of a noble cause.
The persons who were living with the Archbishop Claret in Cuba were not only a good team capable of undertaking a frontier work as required for that island. They were also an authentic missionary community marked by the presence of the Spirit that had brought them together and was sending them to carry out the mission. But they were also collaborating with the power of the Spirit. And Claret was the first person to do it. Without this collaboration and his missionary availability that team would have been collapsed in no time.
You yourself can observe in your parish, diocese, in the Church in general if there is an authentic participation of all the members in the tasks entrusted by Jesus to the Christian community, if there is a true missionary community…. or only “the clergy” do things or the rest, the friends of the priest collaborate; or is there a real pastoral and evangelizing project, in shared mission by priests, religious and laity.