This section of the Claretian Year website is called The Compass. The title may seem a bit anachronistic in digital times, but the Claretians know well that this is one of the comparisons that Claret used to talk about missionary spirituality. In a booklet entitled The temple and palace of God Our Lord, published in Barcelona in 1866, he uses the metaphor of the compass to explain the dynamics of the Christian life: “Every Christian has to do as a compass, which of the two points set the one in the center and with the other set in motion to describe a perfect circle”. He applies the metaphor to the relationship between contemplative and active life. We can use it to express the need we have today to cultivate a spirituality that, on the one hand, is anchored in the essentials of the gospel and, on the other, continually opens to the evolution of life, to social changes, to Church development. In the Purposes of 1865, he writes: “Deus meus et omnia, like Saint Francis of Assisi. Compass simile. One point is fixed at the point and the other describes the circle, a symbol of perfection.” In those of 1866 it is even more explicit: “I will figure that my soul and my body are like the two points of a compass, and that my soul, like a tip, is fixed on Jesus, which is my center, and that my body, like the other end of the measure, it is describing the circle of my attributions and obligations with all perfection, since the circle is a symbol of perfection on earth and of eternity in heaven.”
Centered on Jesus, we can move according to the inspirations of his Spirit. Center and periphery, anchoring and movement are ways of referring to a missionary spirituality that is not dualistic, that is not a prisoner of the dilemmas (or-or) that end up becoming ideological trenches: or contemplation or action; or worship or liberation; or community or mission; or work or prayer … The compass is a beautiful metaphor to describe an integral spirituality, which pays attention to the various dimensions and does not privilege some to the detriment of others. It is, in short, a symbol of integration, or of “perfection,” as Claret writes, although today we tend to be more sensitive to broken lines than perfect circles. Life seems to us a path made of ups and downs, advances and setbacks. The image of the circle scares us a little because it does not seem very suitable to describe our “imperfection”, but it can also be understood as a symbol of harmony amid the complexity that we have to live today. The Claretian Year is a formative and spiritual itinerary that aims to help us to be well rooted in our charismatic tradition so that, in this way, we can be very free without the risk of getting lost. The only way for the compass to draw circles, which is what it has been built for, and not scribbles is for one of its tips to be fixed in the center.
The section of the web page that bears this name – The compass – is a blog in which the members of the Claretian Spirituality Center (CESC) of Vic, of the Forge Center of Los Negrales – both within the scope of the General Prefecture of Spirituality – and I will share some reflections that help to take advantage and update the proposals of the Claretian Year. From here to January we will try to offer some clues to create the necessary environment in our communities, so that on January 1, 2020 we can start the journey well motivated and animated. It is good to remember now that it is not just an individual path, but a path shared with the members of our community, our Organism and the entire Congregation. Knowing that we walk with others will help us overcome the obstacles and tiredness that will undoubtedly occur along the way.
Each of the blog entries will be linked to the Claretian Year page on Facebook. As we know, this social network allows comments, which facilitates the participation of readers.