1859. Claret, very concerned about the health of Fr. Dionisio Gonzalez, administrator of the Archdiocese of Santiago, considers some names to replace him and for him to be transferred to the Peninsula. Fortunately, he will hold out for a few months.
1868. Claret begins the mission preached in the Saladero prison (Madrid).
Another kind of infirmity that caused me even greater trouble and took a lot of my time was the cure of those who were possessed or obsessed by the devil. When I began preaching missions, I saw a large number of people who claimed to be possessed. Their relatives would ask me to exorcise them and, since I was duly authorized, I did so. Only one in a thousand could be called a genuine case of possession. There were other causes, physical or moral, that I won’t go into here. (Aut 183)
Seeing that so many people had no such demons and that, besides this, they made me lose a lot of time I needed for hearing the confessions of those who had been converted through my preaching, I said to myself, It is far more necessary for you to be casting the devil out of souls in mortal sin than it is from bodies, even when there really are demons there. I thought that even this might be a snare of the devil, so I resolved to give up exorcisms and try another approach… (Aut 184)
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
Claret did not let himself get ensnared by the work of exorcisms, which were very typical of his time; on the contrary, he knew how to discern cases with clarity and be free to preach.
- Are there activities that distract you from your evangelizing mission?
- Do you carefully discern how you spend your time?
as if everything depended on my work and, at the same time,
I put all my trust in God because everything really does depend on Him.”