AFFECTION FOR THE MISSIONARIES
This letter of St. Anthony Mary Claret to Fr. Joseph Xifre, the Superior General of the Congregation of Missionaries founded by him, is one of the most endearing texts for Claretians and one that best shows the apostolic ‘fever’ of Claret and his human concern for his missionaries; the spiritual and human dimension perfectly in harmony, forming a unique reality, experience and life. Claret says that he writes the letter with tears in his eyes. Together with the letter he sent an insert which contained what has come to be known as ‘the definition of the missionary’ which reflects the perfection of his apostle’s soul and desired that each missionary would copy it and always carry it with him. This text, with slight changes, he included in his autobiography a year later. (494).
Here his interior personality and the passionate strength of his apostolic zeal are clearly seen. Given its importance, a true and concise synthesis of his spirit, we are going to copy it here:
A Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man on fire with love, who spreads its flames wherever he goes. He desires mightily and strives by all means possible to set the whole world on fire with God’s love. Nothing daunts him; he delights in privations, welcomes work, embraces sacrifices, smiles at slander, and rejoices in suffering. His only concern is how he can best follow Jesus Christ and imitate Him in working, suffering, and striving constantly and single-mindedly for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls
Every Christian, according to the characteristics of his vocation and possibilities, ought to live this same spirit, which is no more than living the fullness of one’s own baptism and confirmation. In a certain way it is the definition of the spirit of Jesus himself. More reason why the Claretian Missionaries and those who share in his spirituality and mission keep and appreciate this very rich heritage that Fr. Claret left them.