LOVE IMPELS ME
The phrase ‘The love of Christ urges me’ taken from St. Paul (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14) was the motto Claret placed on his episcopal shield. For him it wasn’t a simple phrase, no matter how beautiful, just to make an impression. It was the emblem of his life, the motor that catapulted him to work continuously and to give himself to the apostolic mission, to care for the greater good of his neighbour. It contained the deepest ‘secret’ that stirred in his soul.
What did Fr. Claret feel when he said these words that he bore etched by fire on his soul? We must ask for a special sensibility, that only the Holy Spirit can give, to come to empathize with that experience. Fr. Claret, on speaking of what was most vital in his soul, always used ardent words and frequently just interjections. The phrase we are commenting on was for him not simply a theoretical motto. It brought out the sharp interior pain that launched him to run without rest from one place to another to help his neighbour and avoid irreversible and fatal frustration. And everything, for love!
The love of Christ never leaves or distances itself from the brothers. The love of Christ never appeases or accommodates. The love of Christ is the declared enemy of any system. The love of Christ makes him responsible for others (for this Claret calls his neighbour ‘my son’ and in his conduct it was never meant to be a paternalistic expression). The love of Christ takes one out of oneself, eliminating egotistical self-absorption. The love of Christ seeks the real good of others before one’s own. The love of Christ understands where the path that truly leads to happiness goes and guides others.
Does the reader of these lines dare to ask God for the love of Christ? Is it enough to overcome ‘the appetite to do it’ or to fear to love our neighbour ‘without enthusiasm’?