JOY AND GENTLENESS OF THE BELIEVER
Texts like this can create an impression of Claret as naive, without values to defend or criteria to be useful. But he was totally to the contrary: in his preaching and books he argues strongly but without any aggressive approach. He doesn´t want to confuse, but to accompany in the search for the truth; he likes gospel gentleness and meekness. When he wanted to strongly attack through his preaching certain vices, he did it-as he says, “to act like a man cooking snails. He starts by putting the snails on the stove in a pot of cold water. Sensing the coolness of the water, the snails come out of their shells. Then, as the water heats up gradually to the boiling point, the snails are killed and cooked. But if the cook was careless enough to throw them at once into boiling water, they would retreat so deeply into their shells that no one would be able to get them out. This was the line I had to follow when dealing with sinners steeped in all sorts of vices, errors, blasphemies, and impieties” (Auto. 290).
Today we are accustomed to debates in the TV channels or periodicals where each one tries to disqualify the opponent with very aggressive arguments to kick them down. There is no collaboration with the other, but suppression of the other; there is no place for love. Life is transmitted when there is love. Christian dialogue is not to pull down, but to grow together.
There was a strong ascetic tradition of “not – laughing”; according to the gospels, he remembered, “Jesus was ever seen laughing, although He did cry on occasion” (Auto.386). Those who have read the novel of Umbert Eco, entitled ‘The name of the Rose’ know it well. Claret participated in this ascetic trend, but he corrected it; happiness was very much present in his life; he suffered a lot, but he had a lot of inner joy. The degree and depth of joy is not measured by a thunder of bursting into laughter, but by inner joy and gentleness.