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SELECTED PASSAGES FROM THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
ST. ANTHONY MARY CLARET

MISSIONS

Aut. 118: The Lord made me understand that I would not only have to preach to sinners but that I would also have to preach to and catechize simple farmers and villagers. Hence He said to me, "The poor and needy ask for water, and there is none, their tongue is parched with thirst. I, Yahweh, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them. I will make rivers well up on barren heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys; turn the wilderness into a lake, and dry ground into a waterspring.

God our Lord gave me a very special understanding of those words, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore he has anointed me. He has sent me to preach the good news to the poor and to heal the brokenhearted."

Aut. 120: In many passages of the Bible I felt the voice of God calling me to go forth and preach. The same thing happened to me while I was at prayer. Thus it was that I determined to leave the parish and go to Rome, to present myself to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith o that they could send me anywhere in the world.

Aut. 152: The Lord did me a great favor in bringing me to Rome and introducing me for however short a time to those virtuous fathers and brothers. I only wish that I had profited more by it. But if I haven't, my neighbor has. It was there that I learned how to give the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and methods for preaching, catechizing, hearing confessions usefully and effectively, as well as many other things that have stood me in good stead. Blessed be you, my God, for being so good and merciful to me. Make me love and serve you with all fervor; ;make all creatures love and serve you. All you creatures, love and serve your God. Taste and see by experience how sweet it is to love and serve your God. My God, my only good!

Aut. 158: "And would you, my Mother, have me, who am a brother of these luckless ones, look on indifferently at their utter ruin? Ah, no! Neither the love that I bear God, nor that I bear my neighbor, could stand it. For how can I say that I love God if, seeing my neighbor in this plight, I do not come to his rescue? How can I have charity if, knowing that thieves and murderers are set to rob and kill all those who pass along a road, I do not warn all those who are heading there? How can I have charity if, knowing that ravenous wolves are devouring my Master's flock, I hold my peace? How can I have charity if I am silent at the theft of those most precious jewels that cost the lifeblood of a God, or at the sight of people setting fire to the house and heritage of my most loving Father?

Aut. 159: "Ah, my Mother, I cannot still my voice on such occasions. No, I shall not be silent, even if I knew it meant that I should be cut to pieces. I shall shout, cry out, lift up my voice to heaven and earth to remedy so great an evil. I shall not be silent, and when my voice is hoarse or mute from all my crying I shall lift up my hands to heaven, make my hair stand on end, and stamp my feet upon the ground to make up for my lack of speech.

Aut. 164: "O Jesus and Mary, the love I bear you makes me long to be joined with you forever in heaven; but this same love is so intense that it causes me to ask for a long life, in which to win souls for heaven. O Love, O Love, O Love!"

Aut. 195: I had come to realize that a missionary must never thrust himself into an assignment. He should offer his services to the bishop, saying, "Here I am, send me." But he should not go until his bishop sends him, because when he is sent, it will be by God's sending. All the Old Testament prophets were sent by God. Jesus Christ himself was sent from God, and Jesus in turn sent his Apostles.

Aut. 198: This need for being sent to a particular place by a bishop was something that God himself helped me understand from the very beginning. Thus, no matter how evil and demoralized the towns I was sent to, great fruits were always obtained, because it was God who sent me to them and prepared them and predisposed them for me. Missionaries may rest assured, then, that they should go to no town, however good, unless they go under obedience; but that under obedience they should not hesitate to go to any town, however bad. As far as any possible difficulties or persecutions are concerned, let them have no fear: God has sent them through obedience and He will take care of them.

Aut. 202: I have no mere earthly aim but a far noble one. My aim is to make God better known, loved, and served by everyone. If only I had all human hearts, with which to love God! My God, people do not know you! If they did, you would be loved far more than you are. If people only knew your wisdom, power, goodness, beauty, and all your divine attributes, they would all have become seraphim consumed with the fire of your divine love. This is my aim: to make God known, so that He may be loved and served by all.

Aut. 211: I tell you quite frankly that whenever I see sinners, I grow restless, I cannot quiet down, I cannot be consoled, my heart goes out to them. To give you an idea of how I feel, I'll draw a comparison. If a loving mother saw her child in danger of falling from a high window or into an open fireplace wouldn't she run and shout, "Look out, baby, you're going to fall!" Wouldn't she run up behind the child and take hold of him and pull him back if she could? My brothers and sisters, you should know that grace is stronger and braver than nature. Well then, if the natural love a mother feels for her child can make her run to him, shout at him, take hold of him, and pull him back from the brink of ruin, that is just what grace does in me.

Aut. 212: Charity urges and impels me; it makes me run from town to town shouting, "Sinner, my son, look where you're heading; you're about to fall into hell. Stop! Don't take another step!" I often ask God, as St. Catherine of Siena did: "Lord, let me stand at the gates of hell and stop anyone from entering, by telling each of them, "Where are you going, poor fool? Turn back! Make a good confession and save your soul. Don't come here, to be lost for all eternity!"

Aut. 213: Another force that drives me to preach and hear confessions is my desire to make my neighbor happy. If there is so much joy in healing the sick, freeing the prisoner, consoling the afflicted, and cheering the sad, then there is far greater joy in bringing one's neighbor to the glory of heaven. It means saving him from every evil and bring him to the enjoyment of every good – and for all eternity. Mortals cannot understand this just now, but when they are in glory they will know the great good that was offered them and they will have, happily, attained. Then they will sing the everlasting mercies of the Lord and bless those who have been merciful to them.

Aut. 214: Besides my unfailing love for poor sinners, another force that has driven me to work for their salvation is the example of the prophets, of Christ himself, of the Apostles, and of the many men and women saints whose lives and histories I have read, noting down some of the more salient passages for my use and profit and as a stimulus to work harder.

CMF
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