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SELECTED PASSAGES FROM THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
ST. ANTHONY MARY CLARET

 

ROYAL CONFESSOR


Aut. 621: I have sometimes remarked that God sent me to this job as a kind of purgatory where I am supposed to pay for the sins of my past. I have also said that in all my life I have never suffered as much as I do here at court. I am always sighing to get away from it all. I’m like a caged bird that keeps looking through the bars of its cage for a way to escape, and I keep dreaming up ways to get out. I would almost have been glad if a revolution had come along and they had thrown me out.

Aut. 623: I can see that what the Lord is doing in me is like what I observe going on in the motion of the planets: they are pulled by two forces, one centrifugal, the other centripetal. Centrifugal force pulls them to escape their orbits; centripetal force draws them toward their center. The balance of these two forces holds them in their orbits. That’s just how I see myself. I feel one force within me, which I’ll call centrifugal, telling me to get out of Madrid and the court; but I also feel a counterforce, the will of God, telling me to stay in court for the time being, until I am free to leave. This will of God is the centripetal force that keeps me chained here like a dog on his leash. The mixture of these two forces, namely, the desire to leave and my love for doing God’s will, keeps me running around in my circle.

Aut. 624: Every day at prayer I have to make acts of resignation to God’s will. Day and night I have to offer up sacrifice of staying in Madrid, but I thank God for the repugnance I feel. I know that it is a great favor. How awful it would be if the court or the world pleased me! The only thing that pleases me is that nothing pleases me. May you be blessed, God my Father, for taking such good care of me. Lord, just as you make the ocean salty and bitter to keep it pure, so have you given me the salt of dislike and the bitterness of boredom for the court, to keep me clean of this world. Lord, I give you thanks, many thanks, for doing so. Aut. 648: I resolve always to walk in God’s presence, referring all things to Him, never seeking my own praise, but only greater grace to imitate Jesus. I will always try to ask myself how Jesus would have acted under similar circumstances.

Aut. 658: On the cross I have lived and on the cross I wish to die; from the cross I hope to come down, not by my own hands, but at the hands of others, after I have finished my sacrifice. God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world(Gal.6:14).

Aut. 664: The Holy Spirit tells me, “Go to the ant, O sluggard, study her ways and learn wisdom.” And learn I shall, not only from the ant, but from the cock, the donkey, and the dog as well…

Aut. 673: The dog’s greatest joy is to be in his master’s presence and walk along beside him. I shall strive always to walk joyfully in the presence of God, my dear Master. Thus I will never sin and will become perfect, according to his word: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.”

Aut. 679: On December 25 God infused in me a love of being persecuted and slandered. The Lord favored me with a dream the following night. I dreamed that I had been jailed on a charge I was innocent of. Because I considered it a gift from heaven to be treated like Jesus, I was silent, as He had been. Nearly all my friends had abandoned me, as had the friends of Jesus, too. One of my friends wanted to defend me, as Peter had wanted to defend Jesus, but I said to him, “Don’t you want me to drink the chalice my Father has prepared for me?”

Aut. 685: On September 23, at 7:30 in the morning, the Lord told me, “You shall fly throughout the world or walk with great speed and preach of the great punishments that are approaching.” The Lord gave me a deep understanding of those words of the Apocalypse (8:13): “As my vision continued, I heard an eagle flying in mid-heaven cry out in a loud voice, “Woe, woe, and again woe to the inhabitants of the earth,’ because of the three great chastisements that are to come.” These chastisements are: (1) Protestantism, communism… (2)The four archdemons that will make fearful inroads: the love of pleasure, the love of money, independence of the mind, independence of the will. (3) The great wars and their consequences.

Aut. 686: On September 24, the feast of our Lady of Mercy, at 11:30 in the morning, the Lord gave me an understanding of another passage in the Apocalypse (10:1): “ Then I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow about his head; his face shone like the sun and his legs like pillars of fire. In hi hand he held a little scroll that had been opened. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land (first in his diocese of Cuba and later in other dioceses), and then he gave a loud cry like the roar of a lion. When he cried out, the seven thunders raised their voices too.” Here come the sons of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It says seven, but seven is an indefinite number here, meaning all. They are called thunders because they will shout like thunder and make their voices heard. They are also called thunders because of their love and zeal, like that of Sts. James and John, who were called the sons of thunder. And the Lord wants me and my companions to imitate the Apostles James and John in zeal, chastity, and love for Jesus and Mary.

Aut. 687: The Lord told me both for myself and for all these missionary companions of mine, “You yourselves will not be the speakers; the Spirit of your Father (and of your Mother) will be speaking in you.” So true is this that each one of us will be able to say, “The spirit of the Lord is upon ;me; therefore he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted.”

Aut. 694: On August 26, 1861, at 7:00 in the evening while I was at prayer in the church of the Rosary at La Granja, the Lord granted me the great grace of keeping the sacramental species intact within me and of having the Blessed Sacrament always present, day and night, in my breast. Because of this I must always be very recollected and inwardly devout. Furthermore I must pray and confront all the evils of Spain, as the Lord has told me. To help me do this, I have engraved in my memory a number of things, such as that without any merit, talent, or personal recommendation, He has lifted me up from the lowest of the low to the highest post, at the side of the kings of this earth. And now He has put me at the side of the King of Heaven. “Glorify God and bear him about in your body”(1 Cor.6:20).

Aut. 700: On the morning of May 16, 1862, at 4:15 while I was at prayer, I thought of what I had written down the day before concerning my experience of the Blessed Sacrament the previous August 26. I had been thinking of erasing it and was still thinking of it today, but the Blessed Virgin told me not to erase it. Afterward, while I was saying Mass, Jesus Christ told me that He had indeed granted me this grace of remaining within me sacramentally.

Aut. 703: May the Lord be blessed for stooping to use such a miserable person as myself to do such great things. May God’s be the glory and mine the confusion I deserve. Everything I have I owe to God; He has given me health, energy, words, and all the rest besides. I have always known that the Lord was my fuel; but on this trip all the rest knew it too. They could see that I hardly ate or drank anything all day, except a potato and a glass of water. I never ate meat, fish, or eggs, or drank wine. I was always happy and they never saw me tired, despite the fact that some days I preached as many as 12 sermons.

Aut. 704: I cannot tell the number of sermons God has preached through me, his unworthy minister and useless servant, in the course of the 48 days of this tour. One member of our company was curious enough to list them, and he says that they came to 205: 16 to the clergy, 9 to seminarians, 95 to nuns, 28 to the Sisters of Charity, 35 to the poor in charitable institutions, 8 to the men of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and 14 to the general public in cathedrals and great churches.

Aut. 754: During the half hour after Mass, I feel that I am totally annulled. I desire nothing but his holy will. I live by Jesus’ own life. In possessing me He possesses nothing, while I possess everything In Him. I tell Him, “Lord, you are my love. You are my honor, my hope, and my refuge. You are my glory and my goal. My love, my happiness, and my preserver. My delight, my reformer, and my ;master. My Father, Spouse of my life and soul.

Aut. 755: “Lord, I do not seek or wish to know anything but how to fulfill your holy will. I want nothing but you, and in you and for you alone all other things. You are more than enough for me. I love you, my strength, my refuge, and comfort. You are my Father, my Brother, my Spouse, my Friend, and my All. Make me love you as you love me and as you would have me love you.

Aut. 756: “My Father, take this poor heart of mine and devour it as I do you, so that I may be changed totally into you. At the words of consecration the substance of bread and wine are changed into the substance of your body and blood. Almighty Lord, consecrate me; speak over me the words that will change me totally into you.”

Aut. 766: Vocal prayer suits me better than strictly mental prayer, thank God. At each word of the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory, I glimpse an abyss of goodness and mercy. Our Lord has granted me the grace of being very attentive and fervent when I say these prayers. The Lord in his goodness and mercy also grants me many graces during mental prayer, but in vocal prayer I have a deeper awareness.

Aut. 767: When I am before the Blessed Sacrament, I feel such a lively faith that I can’t describe it. Christ in the Eucharist is almost tangible to me; I kiss his wounds continually and embrace Him. When it’s time for me to leave, I have to tear myself away from his sacred presence.

Aut. 798: This year (1864) I have been much slandered and persecuted by all sorts of persons. I have been attacked by journalists and lampooned in pamphlets, parodied books, touched-up photographs, and in many other ways – even by the very demons. At times my nature rebelled a little, but I at once calmed myself in resignation and conformity to God’s will. I considered the example of Jesus and realized how far I was from suffering what He suffered for me, and so I kept calm. This year, too, I wrote a little book entitled ‘Comfort for a Slandered Soul.’

 

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