THE JOY OF THE FINISHING LINE
Death of Claret.
In October 1869, exactly a year before his death, Claret wrote from Rome, where he was to participate in the I Vatican Council, to his great collaborator, friend and confessor, D. Paladio Currius. He humbly recognised of being faithful to the mission he received, having given all; now, worn out and ill, he was preparing to exhale his last breath in peace. The Lord had granted him the fortune of working for the Gospel, at a level hardly imaginable, in Africa (Canary Islands), America (Cuba) and Europe in its then two most symbolic cities: Paris (capital of the empire) and Rome (capital of Christianity) He felt the joy that he was going to die poor and forgotten by the important ones of the earth: his tasks were others! It is impossible not to see in his words an echo to those of Paul to Timothy: ‘ I am already poured out as a libation, and the moment of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ (2 Tim 4: 6-7). Claret also had very clear in his own heart these other words of the Apostle: ‘None of us lives for himself, nor dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Either in life or in death we belong to the Lord.’ (Rom. 14:7-8).
Only those who go out of their way, live life fully ‘in action’. It is one thing to live and another ‘to be lived’, carried on by what might happen, by others, without putting in the passion of consciousness. Those who have gone out of their way arrive finally at peace in the rest of the Lord, which was their aim.
After a life of trials and tribulations, the great mystic, St. John of the Cross sketched his ending thus: ‘Let me be and forget me, / I recline my head on the Beloved, / he finished all and leave me, / leaving my care / between the forgotten flowers’. He would rest serene in the consummation of what he hoped for, as another Claretian wrote: ‘And I will arrive, by night, / with joyful fright / on seeing, at last, that I walked, day after day, over the same palm of Your hand ‘ (Bp. Pedro Casaldaliga)