NINETH PHASE ( 1856 & 1861 – 1868)
Martyrial Dimensión : “In Cruce Vivo et in Cruce Cufio Morí” (aut 658)
(On the cross I have lived and on the cross I wish to die)
P. Jesús Bermejo
This phase started already at Holguin in 1856 – but in these last years the martyrial aspect would be increasing considerably converting itself to a kind of persecutionist wave.
1. “Great Grace”
The conservation of the Eucharistic Species (grace obtained at the Church of St. Ildefons of La Granja on 26 Aug. 1861: Deep configuration with Christ in the mystery of his redeeming sacrifice.
2. Apostolic Reaction
- ‘Pray and confront all the evils of Spain'(Aut 694)
What were those evils? Claret himself tells about them in Aut 695 and tells also to Mother París: ‘At present 3 great calamities are threatening Spain: Communism, Protestantism, and the Republic. God our Lord gave me to know in a very clear manner the necessity to pray and to promote the devotion of Trisagion, the Blessed Sacrament visiting and receiving it frequently and the Rosary.'(Letter dt. 27 August 1861,EC II p. 360)
He writes almost the same to Rev. Fr. Xifré and adds: ‘I know in a very special way that God our Lord wants that the good and fervent souls promote these three devotions.'(Ibid. pp. 358-359)
- Intensify the evangelization, prayer and sacrifice:
‘I knew that I would have to preach again and again and at the same time pray that the Lord would turn his kind and merciful eyes on worldly men that they may tremble, shudder and be converted.'(Aut 697)
3. Total Offering as a Victim
On May 11,1862 …. I offered myself to Jesus and Mary to preach, exhort, labour and suffer even death itself, and the Lord accepted my suffering.'(Aut 698)
4. Apostolic Reaction
The urgency of evangelization: ‘It is necessary that missionaries be sent there…'(Aut 728) And from here a desperate cry of prayer becomes loud: ‘Heavenly Father, send missionaries!'(Aut 728)
5. Operative Decision
Sketch a plan similar to that of Jesus for himself:
- To eat little and work much
- To sleep little and pray much
- To speak little and suffer many sorrows and slanders without complaining or defending myself, but rather rejoicing in them (Aut 745)
‘I with the help of his grace, am resolved to suffer pains, fatigue, contempt, and mockery, complaints, slanders, persecution – even death.'(Aut 752
- Make himself fully available to the will of God:
‘I will tell the good God, ‘Lord, if you want to use me, a miserable instrument, to convert sinners here I am.’ (Aut 788)
- Offer to God … the souls that repent before the pulpit or confessional. (Aut 753)
6. Psychological Crisis
Innumerable calumnies and persecutions in 1864 (Aut 798), and even before because on 13 Jan. of the same year he wrote a letter to the Minister of Governing, Florencio Rodríguez Vaamonde, complaining about the persecution campaign in the press (ECII, pp.742-745).
The recognition of the Kingdom of Italy from the part of Queen Isabel II (Aut 832-852), a big cross almost unbearable for the Saint.
7. Decision in Martyrial line
- Suffer with Jesus: ‘I considered the example of Jesus and realized how far I was from suffering what he suffered for me…’ (Aut 798 EA, p.446)
- Suffer like Jesus: not with the intention of defending himself but to get animated to suffer through the meditation of the texts of Holy Scriptures. He writes the booklet ‘El consuelo de un alma calumniada’. Thus it will be easier for him to follow the example of the Master, who suffers like the Redeemer of the humanity.
Characteristics of this stage:
passion for Christ and passion with Christ in Eucharistic victimation, great missionary longings and incredible austerity of life.
Outside the Autobiography
Note: The Autobiography comes to a close in August 1865. The last stage of Claret’s life will be reconstructed with texts of autobiographical nature: letters, Resolutions, spiritual notes, etc.
TENTH PHASE (1868-1870)
Eschatological Dimension: “Cupio Dissolví Et esse cum christo”
(I long to be dissolved and be in Christ)
- Special Graces
• Possible spiritual marriage (22 July 1868: EA p. 662)
• The ‘Great Grace’ of love of enemies (12 Oct. 1869: EA p.663)
2. Apostolic Reaction
Proceed with the work of evangelization: ‘which I will inculcate more ‘opportune et importune’; third point of particular examen (EA pp584-586)
3. Vision of Missionaries
He sees them through revelation from above as arms and breasts of Mary (E A p. 665)
4. Preparation to Reach the Goal
The Conciliar works in Rome (1869-1870) in defence of the Church and of the Pope.
5. Crisis of Physical and Psychological Pain
Attitude of some Bishops in the Council: ‘Hearing the blunders and even blasphemies and heresies they were uttering, I felt such indignation and annoyance that the blood rushed to my head and it caused a cerebral haemorrhage.'( To Fr. Xifré, 1 July 1870: ECII, pp. 1481-82)
6. Bold Decision
• Fight boldly to defend the truth and if its is necessary, die for it, as he said in the Conciliar Aula on 31 May 1870, connecting his sentiments with what happened in the wounding at Holguin: ‘Grant the Lord that I could shed all my blood and suffer death itself in confessing this truth! Would that I could consummate the sacrifice started in 1856, coming down from the pulpit after having preached about the faith and good customs on the 1st of February, Vigil of the Purification of Mary most Holy! I carry the stigma and scar of our Lord Jesus Christ in my body, as you see in my face and arm. Would that I could consummate my carrier confessing and proclaiming from the abundance of my heart this truth: I believe that the Supreme Pontiff is infallible.'(Discourse in I Vatican Council, 31 May 1870; EA, p. 490-91
7. Joy at the Mission Fulfilled
He has vivid and clear conscience of having fulfilled his mission ( cf. Letterto Paladio Curríus, 2 October 1869 EC, II p. 1423)
8. Longing for the Union
He doesn’t desire anything else than to be united definitively with Chríst like the membrs to their head (cf. The beautiful aspirations on the Feast of the Ascension, 26 May 1870; EA p. 588)
9. Desires of Union with Jesus Christ – Eucharist and with Mary
‘I desire to be united with Jesus in the Sacrament and in heaven.’ I long to see myself freed from the ties of this body and to be with Christ. Like Mary, my sweet Mother. (Ibid.)
Note how the most affectionate to the Eucharist and Blessed Virgin makes the whole life of Claret, from the infancy (Aut 37-39, 43-51, 55) until his death.
Characteristics of this phase:
- Evangelizer until death;
- Intimate joy of having fulfilled faithfully his mission;
- Ardent desire of definitive transfiguration:
- Contemplate Jesus and Mary without veils or chains of the traveller:
- At full light.