Dear brothers and friends. From the Mother House of our Congregation, we send you our fraternal greetings. Alongside the mortal remains of our Father and Founder we join in prayer with the entire Claretian Family asking the Lord for the victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
In these weeks, many of us, being missionaries, cannot go out onto the streets. In this Mission House, from its origins and for many years, its missionaries knew very well how to combine the time dedicated to the mission and during the preceding time to prepare themselves at home by cultivating prayer, fraternal life and formation.
In this regard, we can recall what happened to our Father and Founder during his exile in France after the Spanish revolution of 1868. Fr. José Xifré, Superior General, who was sheltering in a small village because they were looking for him to kill him, sent him a letter full of sadness and concern because the small Congregation had suffered the martyrdom of one of its missionaries (Fr. Francisco Crusats, in the Selva del Campo) and the rest had had to disperse. Many believed that this was a mortal blow to that young congregation. However, Fr. Claret, from his exile, knew how to see prophetically beyond the momentary difficulty.
On the one hand, he invited him to be prudent, responsible and flexible, writing to him: “It seems to me very good that you have withdrawn and hidden yourself in order to avoid greater problems; and thus from your corner you can give the dispositions that you consider convenient with respect to the others…”. (EC, II, 1304-1305). On the other hand, it helped him to live this difficult situation in the light of faith. He wrote: “Tell them [the missionaries] to have faith and trust in Jesus and Mary. Thank God, I am very happy and encouraged, and even joyful. When I consider that God is so wise, so good and powerful that even from bad things he brings good, I hope that the Congregation will still bring great good out of these tribulations” (EC, II, 1305). (EC, II, 1305) And in case it was not clear, he explained it to him with one of the parables of the Gospel: “You have seen that… the farmer sows his field; the wheat is germinates beautifully and grows in such a way that the whole field looks like a green carpet; but my God! There comes a cold so severe, a north wind so strong and a frost so intense, that it leaves the ears of wheat baked and, as if all this were not enough, a snowfall so great that it completely covers the field. The foolish man is frightened, but the farmer trusts that the snow will melt, that the cold will diminish and the good weather will come. Take heart, then…” (EC, II, 1304-1306).
We are living through a difficult time. Let us not lack confidence in God and missionary spirit. May we live this situation as a time of listening and conversion, so that when we go out again, we may do so in a renewed, enriched and enriching way.
From Vic, and before the tomb of our Father, we pray for the whole Congregation, for the Church and for the whole world. St. Anthony Mary Claret, pray for us!