As every 24th October, we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Anthony Mary Claret, a very special year since, as our Superior General reminds us in his message for the feast, Fr. Mathew Vattamattam CMF, we are in the Jubilee year of the 175th anniversary of the Foundation of our Congregation.
Thus, we take the occasion to look at the present reality in which we live from the perspective of our Founder, in the presence of God. It is certainly not a matter of running away from the realities we face today, but of acquiring a broader perspective in order to keep our hopes alive in the midst of the distressing realities that surround us.
The memory of our Founder invites us to complement our vision of things here and now with the perspective of eternity, which helps us to broaden the horizon of our concerns and to fix our gaze on what is lasting. As St. Paul says, “we are citizens of heaven” (Phil 2:20). From his youth, Claret had a sense of eternity (Aut 8). The light of heaven illuminated his steps on earth. He prayed ardently that the gifts of heaven would sustain his life on earth: “My Jesus, I pray for love, great flames of that fire which You brought down from heaven to earth. Come, divine fire; come, holy fire, kindle me, burn in me, melt me and see me in the mould of God’s will” (Aut 446).
In addition, this year we celebrate several jubilees in the Congregation: 175 years of Claret’s mission in the Canary Islands, 150 years of Avellana’s mission in Chile, 100 years of Claretian presence in Santo Domingo, Panama and Germany, and 50 years of Claretian presence in Nigeria.
We are heirs of the missionary spirit of our Founder. In this Jubilee year we continue to pray: Lord, grant each one of us and our communities to burn in your Love, to spread its flames wherever we go and to enkindle all in that fire.
And as always, let us place everything in Mary’s heart.
Happy Father Claret Day!