CONSTITUTION OF THE INSTITUTE (1858-1870)
DEFINITION OF THE MISSIONARY
Although the obligations of his position did not allow him to live normally with the missionaries, Claret was always close. This was the reason why in 1861 he sent Fr. Xifre an invaluable document for us: the so-called Definition of the Missionary. It summarizes the ideal of life to which Claret aspired and which he wanted to transmit to his sons (Aut 494). Here is the text of one of the two editions of the Founder: I tell myself: A Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man on fire with love, who spreads its flames wherever he goes. He desires mightily and strives by all means possible to set the whole world on fire with God’s love. Nothing daunts him; he delights in privations, welcomes work, embraces sacrifices, smiles at slander, and rejoices in suffering. His only concern is how he can best follow Jesus Christ and imitate Him in working, suffering, and striving constantly and single-mindedly for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.
My father set me to work on every job available in his well-equipped little thread and textile factory. For a long time I and another young man were in charge of putting the finishing touches on the work of everyone else in the shop. Whenever we had to correct anyone, it upset me a great deal; yet I did my duty. I always tried to find something good to say about the piece of finished work. I would praise its good points, saying that this or that about it was very good but that it had such and such a defect and if these little defects were corrected, it would really be a perfect job. (Aut 33)
… This is why the workers always took correction from me and mended their ways. My friend, however, who was a better worker than I but lacked this gift of kindness, always got upset when he had to correct anybody. He would scold the workers harshly and they would get angry, and often they wouldn’t know what it was they were supposed to correct. I learned from this that everyone, even the rudest people, should be treated kindly and affably and that much more may be gained by kindness than by harshness and irritability. (Aut 34)
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
- What is your reaction to possible corrections? Do they help you grow?
- When necessary, how do you usually correct others?
- Remember No. 55 of the Constitutions: “Since we really care for one another, if we happen to see one of our brothers going astray… we should humbly, gently and charitably admonish him in private, remembering our own frailty.”
- Tell a brother about your experience with fraternal correction: possibilities, successes, novelty, encounter, freedom, closeness.
And at Mass each day I prepare myself and I offer myself as a victim for the purpose that the Heavenly Father be served. Each day I pray for the one who is going to kill me…. As much as I have loved and done for the workers and it will be the workers who will kill me.”
(Blessed Jaume Giron, CMF)