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SELECTED PASSAGES FROM THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
ST. ANTHONY MARY CLARET

EARLY LIFE

Aut. 26: Whatever my parents or teacher told me or explained to me, I would grasp it perfectly, notwithstanding the fact that I was a very small boy. I didn't really comprehend the wording of the catechism although I could parrot it extremely well. Nevertheless, I can see now the advantage of knowing it by heart, because in time, without quite knowing how or adverting to it, those great truths that I had rattled off without understanding them would come back to me so forcibly that I would say, "Ah! That's what that meant! How stupid you were not to understand that!" Rosebuds open in time, but if there were no buds there would be no blossoms. The same holds for religious truths; if there are no catechism lessons, there is complete ignorance of religious matters, even among those who otherwise pass for intelligent persons. How useful my catechism lessons and the advice of my parents have been to me!

Aut. 40: In addition to attending these morning and afternoon services, I used to enter the church at nightfall, when hardly anyone was there, and talk alone with our Lord. With great faith, trust, and love, I would speak to God, my good Father. A thousand times over I would offer myself to his service. I wanted to become a priest so that I could dedicate myself to his service day and night. I remember telling Him, "Humanly speaking I see no hope, but you have he power to make it happen, if you will." Then, with total confidence, I would leave it all in God's hands, trusting Him to do whatever had to be done..

Aut. 67: Toward theend of my third year in Barcelona, obsessed as I was, whenever I was at Mass on holy days, I experienced the greatest difficulty in overcoming the thoughts that came to me. It is true that I loved to thing and dwell on my projects, but during the Mass and my other devotions I did not want to and I tried to put them out of my mind. I told myself that I'd think about them later but that for the present I only wanted to thing on what I was doing and pray. My efforts seemed useless, like trying to bring a swiftly rotating wheel to a sudden stop. I was tormented during Mass with new ideas, discoveries, etc. There seemed to be more machines in my head than Saints on the altar.

Aut. 68: In the midst of this whirligig of ideas, while I was at Mass one day, I remembered reading as a small boy those words of the Gospel: "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?" This phrase impressed me deeply and went like an arrow to my heart. I tried to think and reason what to do, but to no avail. I was like Saul on the road to Damascus, but I was in need of an Ananias to tell me what to do.

Aut. 70: The warmth of piety and devotion reawakened in me. I opened my eyes and recognized the dangers to soul and body that I had been passing through.

Aut. 98: I am quite sure that I was neither asleep nor suffering from dizziness or anything else that could have caused a state of illusion. What made me believe that what had happened was real, and a special grace from Mary, was the fact that from that moment on I was free from temptation and for many years stayed free of any temptation against chastity. If later there have been any such temptations, they have been so insignificant that they hardly deserve to be called temptations. Glory to Mary! Victory through Mary!

Aut. 101: During the Ember Days of St. Thomas in that same year of 1834, I received the diaconate. At the ordination the bishop read those words of St. Paul in the Pontifical: "For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and the Powers who originate the darkness in this world..." At that moment the Lord made me understand clearly the meaning of the demons I saw during the temptations.

Aut. 112: And you, my God, how good you have been to me, guiding me gently along the paths that you have traced for me! As the parish was not my final goal, I felt a deep desire to leave it and go to the missions in order to save souls, even if it meant undergoing a thousand labors and even death.

CMF
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