ONLY THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE
For Claret it is the spirit that keeps us on course. It is one’s spirit that lets us be upright before difficulties and challenges. It is in the small things where consistency of this spirit is tested.
There have been many attempts at reform within the Christian and religious life but only those that have come after listening closely to the Spirit have been successful. It must never be forgotten that ‘reform’ is to recover the lost form. They say ‘to be on form’, ‘recover form’, this is the work of a spirit that knows how to listen to the Spirit. Normally what the Spirit does is to soften the heart of man to gain in sensibility.
The II Vatican Council invited all the orders and religious congregations to return to the spirit of their Founder. It does not mean to return to that era nor to the customs and models of that time but rather to the ‘spirit’. This is not easy. That is why Claret said, ‘it is easier to found new than to reform’. Every true reform demands study and discernment. With study you can overcome the impoverishment of ideas that the Spirit offers us through those who investigate reality in its historical evolution the development of thought. With discernment we place into the hands of others our motions to help us avoid giving too simple a solution to the new challenges that arise but that are timely.
The great obstacle to the necessary renewal, ours and that of those around us, is the tendency to passivity that make us throw out many of the motions for which we have received the Spirit. Claret concludes, ‘When man is faithful to his vocation and responds with a great force of will, he can do a great deal’.