Saint Anthony Mary Claret

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718. A great variety of means was used to stir up this trouble, but the main ones were money, books, hate-sheets, and quack propagandists. And the instigators resorted to violence; they persecuted those who refused to join them by preventing them from working and trying to starve them out. During our tour and our stay there, I went to the trouble of jotting down some of the errors that had been spread in the region, a brief summary of which follows:1237

719. 1. Man should acknowledge no father or mother but the earth, from which men sprout like mushrooms, toadstools, or any other plant, without having to bring in God to explain any of it.

2. Children owe their parents nothing because they were only amusing themselves, and if their pleasure resulted in a child, perhaps it was against their will. Maybe they had some feelings for it, but who knows whether they hadn't tried an abortion? Language like this was used not only at home but also in the streets, in the public squares, and even in the courtroom.

720. 3. Kings and ministers of states are nothing but tyrants; they have no right to tell other men what to do. We are all equal.

4. Politics is nothing but a game to get control of the land, honors, financial interests, etc., of the people.

5. There is no law but the law of the strongest.

721. 6. The earth belongs to no one; all things come from it, and all things are for everyone and belong to everyone.

7. The rich are scoundrels, thieves, and loafers who do nothing but loaf, eat, and lust. Just as the rest of the bees in a hive rise up and kill as many drones as they can, so the workers must rise up and finish off these drones of society.

722. 8. Brothers, we are all equal and share the same nature, but the rich treat us as if we were members of a distinct species lower than theirs. Yes, they treat us as if they alone were men and we were beasts of burden. They never work and are always at their ease; they are always off on a round of amusements at cafes, theaters, dances, and outings, while we are constantly working. They won't even let us rest on holidays. They want and get the most comfortable places, cool in summer and warm in winter, while we not only have to wear ourselves out working, but have to put up with the heat, cold, wind, and rain outdoors, or else are cooped up in factories, basements, and mines, breathing in that heavy, polluted air until we die before our time. Every day their tables groan beneath sumptuous dishes, while we can hardly get a piece of bad bread, for which the monopolies they run overcharge us.

723. They wear the prettiest and finest clothes and have the best suits, which they change daily, while we are hard put to just to have another shirt to change from the pitiful one we work and sweat in every day.

724. They live in magnificent big houses, decked out in oriental luxury, while we live in hovels and basements at rents so high that we can't pay them. We build their houses, clean their rooms, make their clothes, and prepare their meals, but they give us nothing--rather, they rob us of the little we make and suck our blood with their rents, rights, and contributions. How long are we going to put up with their robbery and injustice? Let's all rise against them.

725. 9. So far the rich have enjoyed the land; now it's time for us to enjoy it and divide it among ourselves. A division such as this would be not only fair and just but highly useful and profitable as well because the great landholdings of the thieving rich lie fallow, whereas we would divide them up in­to small plots and till them with our own hands, to reap an abundant harvest.

726. 10. Moreover, as the socialist leader Perez del Álamo,1238 the blacksmith of Loja, often said: Once upon a time the hospitals, almshouses, religious orders, chapters, beneficiaries, and that lot had farms, lands, and rents, and those loafers kept it all to themselves and even robbed the people of their property. They gave us none of it. It's only right that we reclaim what's ours. We have as much right to it as they do, and because they won't give us any we're only taking what belongs to us.

Let us all unite, then. Let us arise and set our hands to the task!

727. By means of these and similar seductive and persuasive arguments, coupled with threats and insults for those who refused to give in to them, they made great strides in a short time.

And while they were spreading such evil and destructive teachings, they were promoting immorality, cutting people off from everything good, and leading them to do all sorts of evil. People were no longer receiving the sacraments of Penance, the Eucharist, and Matrimony, or attending Mass on holy days. They worked until noon and then, in the afternoon and at night, they were off gambling, dancing, making the rounds of theaters, cafes, taverns, and outings. Religion got nothing, worldliness got everything. Ministers of religion were sneered at, slandered, condemned, etc..

728. When I learned of all this in Madrid, it broke my heart and I wanted to go there to preach, but Her Majesty told me to wait and that I could preach when we went there,1239 and so I did. But this is not enough; missionaries must be sent there, and with this in mind, I spoke to the bishops of the region. The papal Nuncio and the queen have both spoken and written requests for missionaries, and I am in hopes that some will respond, but few, I fear, because there is a shortage of available men. Heavenly Father, send missionaries!1240

Chapter IV

The Slanders Malicious Men Have Spread About Catholic Priests

729. Protestants, communists, and socialists are well aware that their greatest enemies, the ones that do the most to foil their plans, are Catholic priests. Because the errors of these groups are only darkness, all that Catholic priests have to do is present the light of the Catholic teaching on them and the darkness is dispelled.1241 Hence the best fighting tactic of these groups has been to speak ill of Catholic priests. They know full well that what they are saying is a pack of fables, slanders, and lies, but that makes no difference to them: something of what they say remains, something sticks and, once they have discredited the teachers, the light of truth goes out and they remain in undisputed command of the darkness of their errors. There's no telling how much propaganda they've made by both the written and the spoken word. I shall transcribe just one of the many leaflets they have circulated everywhere and put within the reach of all. It reads as follows:

Religion and Morals

730. "What would become of the Catholic religion if we had to judge it by the conduct of most of its members, let alone that of all its ministers? The moral degradation of the clergy is reaching its peak. It increases every year, every day and every hour. Look, if you doubt, at those ministers of religion and you will observe that they are steeped in worldly pleasures and involved in political intrigues. They have become such egotists and, hucksters that they have forgotten entirely what their divine Master told them, My kingdom is not of this world.1242

731. "They neither study nor teach morality, but dedicate themselves to the pursuit of their ambitions and disorderly appetites. They do not preach the Gospel, but are occupied incessantly with the interests of political parties and are the prime movers in the most scandalous intrigues and wickedest schemes.

"Whenever you witness some low intrigue, some atrocious slander, or some base maneuver, you can say without fear of error that this is the work of a Catholic priest.

732. "Priests abuse everything; nothing is sacred to them. They have profaned and debased everything: pulpit, confessional, conscience, family and all of society. They have been the ruin of everything.

"Some of them seem to be austere--but beware! Beneath that cassock they carry an envenomed dagger to kill you with. What is worse, they do not even forgive one another.

"Forgetting Christ's words, Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's,1243 which were meant to uphold the separation of Church and state, they meddle in everything, confuse everything, and traffic in everything.

733. "Catholic priests are traitors to themselves, to the Church, and to the state. They call themselves ministers of the God of peace and are the first to start wars, either by word or example.

"They should be the light of the world, but they fill it with darkness by their ignorance. They seduce the spinsters, cheat the married women and corrupt the widows. They have made themselves odious throughout the world by their vanity, ambition, and other rogueries.

"In conclusion: Flee them, separate yourselves from them. They are twice-told impostors: voracious wolves instead of good shepherds."1244

734. Impious men and socialists are doing incalculable harm by such teachings, as well as by their actions and the contempt with which they treat the priesthood, the Mass, the sacraments, and other religious services. To all this they add the mockery and jeers they hurl at those who profess their religion. This is how they swell their ranks daily with new pros­elytes and quicken the pace of society along the path that leads to perdition.

735. I have often, or rather constantly, wondered what remedy there might be for such an evil. After much thought I have come to the conclusion that the remedy consists, on the one hand, of training a good, learned, virtuous, zealous, and prayerful clergy and, on the other, of catechizing and preaching to both children and adults and circulating good books and pamphlets. For those who really want to work, there is still faith in Israel and the land is ready to yield of itself. Don´t lose hope, I tell myself, don´t be upset. At the sight of the virtue and fortitude of good priests, the irreligious will lose their boldness and daring.1245

Chapter V

Things I Have Done Since My Return From Andalucía

736. On arriving here at court I felt as happy and rested from my labors as if I had been loafing all the while, and so I went straight to El Escorial to begin a novena mission to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. A great crowd attended and much good was done, thank God.1246

737. After closing the novena, I began to preach the Spiritual Exercises to the community of priests and students at the seminary. Some visiting priests also attended. The results were truly most gratifying.1247

738. Back in Madrid, I busied myself with giving the Spiritual Exercises to the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. All of them derived great profit from their retreat, asked to make a general confession, and left the retreat full of fervor.1248

739. During the Christmas season I gave a retreat to the French Teaching Sisters. They run a school for young girls, and because the girls go home for the holidays, the nuns are free to make their retreat and have done so every year since I have been in Madrid.1249

740. Resolutions I made during my retreat at El Escorial, from November 10 to l9 inclusive, this present year of 1862:

l. Every year I will make the Spiritual Exercises.

2. Every month I will keep a day of strict recollection, without speaking to anyone.

3. Every week I will confess my sins.

4. Every week I will fast on three days, namely, Monday, Friday, and Saturday, and on some days I will abstain from dessert. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I will take the discipline or something equivalent to it; on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I will wear the cilice.

741. 5. During my prayers I will think on the mysteries of the rosary and on the sufferings of Jesus Christ. I will avoid rushing, mindful of how St. Catherine of Siena was repri­manded for this.1250

742. 6. I will continue my particular examen on meekness. I realize that it is better to do less, in a spirit of meekness, than to do more in haste and ungraciously. People are very disedified by the latter, and so I have resolved never to get angry or complain about anything. I will be amiable with everyone, even those who annoy me. I shall frequently make Meditations 20, p. 264, and 28, p. 356, in the Exercises.1251

743. 7. I will ask the Lord continually to let me know Him and make others know Him, to let me love Him and make others love Him, to serve Him and make others serve Him. I will say to Him, Lord, if you want to use me for the conversion of sinners, etc., here I am.1252

744. 8. Before meals I will say, Lord, I am eating to gain the energy I need to serve you better. Before study I will say, Lord, I am studying to know, love, and serve you and to help my neighbor. Before retiring I will say, Lord, I am taking this rest to build up the energy I have spent and to serve you better. I am doing this, my Lord and Father, because you have ordered me to.

745. 9. Maxims I have resolved to keep:

l) to eat little and work much

2) to sleep little and pray much

3) to speak little and suffer many sorrows and slanders without complaining or defending myself, but rather rejoicing in them

746. 4) exterior and interior mortification

5) spiritual reading from Rodríguez1253

6) mental prayer from La Puente1254

7) particular examen on meekness

747. 8) I will do everything with an upright intention, with attention, and with a firm will to do each thing well.

748. 9) I will always walk in the presence of God and will frequently repeat: Domine, pati aut mori.1255 - Pati non mori.1256 - Pati, et contemni pro te.1257- Absit mihi gloriari nisi in cruce Domini N. J. C.1258

Things to Remember1259

749. l. I will ask the Blessed Virgin Mary for a burning love, perfect union with God, the most profound humility, and a desire to be held in contempt.1260

750. 2. I will hold the virtue of everyone else in high esteem, especially that of all my superiors. I will think the best of all they do, and I will reserve my reproofs, censures, and judgments for my own actions. This course of action will benefit me; the opposite would not.1261

751. 3. I will remember what the Lord told a missionary: that He had saved him from hell in order to save souls. I will think of how He saved me from drowning and other dangers so that I might work for his greater honor and glory and for the salvation of the souls He bought back at so dear a cost.

752. 4. What could Jesus have done for the glory of his Father and the salvation of souls that He did not do? Ah, I can see Him hanging dead upon the cross, scorned by all. For this very reason I, even I, with the help of his grace, am resolved to suffer pains, fatigue, contempt, and mockery, complaints, slanders, persecution--even death. Thank God I am already suffering many of these things, but I am encouraged to say with the Apostle: Omnia sustineo propter electos, ut et ipsi salutem consequantur.1262

753. 5. I know that I can offer God no morsel more delicious or drink more refreshing than the souls that repent before the pulpit or in the confessional. Jesus invites me to his banquet, to eat his flesh and drink his blood,1263 and He wish­es me to invite Him to a banquet of converted souls.

I know that this is his favorite food, since He told his Apostles so.1264 The kings of this earth receive the most exquisite fruits, even though they are hard to find. What should I not do for the King of Heaven?

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.1265 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.1266

755. "Lord, I do not seek or wish to know anything but how to fulfill your holy will.1267 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.1268

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."

Chapter VI

Account Of Conscience To My Spiritual Directory Toward the End of 1862

757. Every day, winter or summer, I get up at 3:00 in the morning. While I am dressing, which doesn't take long, I pray. I should very much like permission to sleep fully clothed on a plank and not go to bed because my head feels heavy when I lie in bed.1269

758. After I get up I take a strong discipline, the harder the better, when I think of my sins and of the scourging of Jesus1270 and of his great love. I seem to hear a voice that says, Da mihi sanguinem, et dabo tibi spiritum.1271 In accordance with my resolutions, I take the discipline one day and wear the cilice the next. The cilice hurts me more than the discipline, but I never omit it because it is more repugnant to the body.

759. My greatest struggle is with eating.1272 My body is like a stubborn mule that often conquers me and mocks me. It is hungry when it sees food on the table. I make it fast three times a week--Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Every day of the year I forbid it to eat meat or fish, even on major feast days. But I see to it that these dishes are prepared for the others in the house. They eat them, but I do not. For the body this is the torment of Tantalus.1273 I do the same with regard to wine. I like meat and wine but will not partake of them and I find that this makes me feel better in body and in soul.

760. When it comes to abstaining from meat, fish, and wine, the body conforms, although this takes a little work; it puts up the most resistance in abstaining from other foods. It always wants more than I'm willing to give it, and at best it makes me commit the fault of taking a little more than I'd planned. I have a worse fault than this, namely, I eat faster than I want to and had resolved to. Because I am served first, and take only potatoes and greens, while the others are served after me and take what they please, it naturally takes them more time to eat what's on their plates. I want to slow down my eating so that we finish at the same time, but there's the rub. Because I am served earlier and have nothing to carve up, and because I have a hearty appetite besides, I can't hold back that little mule of a body, and so it breaks loose and I end up eating faster than I'd planned. During the day, outside mealtimes, I never take food or drink.

761. I practice abstinence for a good number of reasons: (l) to mortify my body, (2) to edify my neighbor-as I know we must nowadays, (3) to be less of a burden to my neighbors as a guest, (4) to economize so that I'll have more to give away. There are other reasons especially to imitate Jesus1274 and Mary.

For some time now, God in his infinite goodness has been favoring me with many telling insights when I am at prayer and arousing in me many desires to do and suffer for his greater honor and glory and the good of souls.1275

762. I have such a deep longing to leave Madrid and go out into the whole world1276 that I can't tell you how much I suffer at not being allowed to do so; God only knows. Every day I have to make acts of resignation to God's will, for I know that He wills me to stay on here for the present.1277 I resolve to be silent, but at best I speak and say that I'd like to leave.1278

763. Seeing that for the time being I have to stay here in this court, I busy myself hearing confessions every day until 11:00. Two thirds of those who come haven't been to confession with me before, and they come to make general confessions.1279

764. At 11:00 I receive callers until noon, and this is the most bothersome hour in my day because people come to ask me for things in connection with the palace I can't agree to. I spend the afternoon preaching, studying, writing, or doing something else. The same holds true of the night, for I strive never to have an idle moment.

765. At 3:00 in the morning, before meditation, I say the Trisagion. At noon, before lunch and after my examen, I make a short Way of the Cross. At night I say the three parts of the rosary, the seven Our Fathers and Hail Marys of our Lady of Mt. Carmel, another seven for our Lady of Sorrows, ten more for our Lady of the Rosary,1280 and the Chaplet.1281

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.1282

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.1283

Chapter VII

An Account Of My Mission To The Place1284

768. I hardly know what to say on this topic; God only knows whether or not I have done my duty here. Although it's true that Her Majesty appreciates and sets great store by my advice, her position holds her back from doing all that she knows would be the better thing, especially when it comes to externals. But she is always well disposed to do everything she can when it is a question of herself alone and her inner self. Every day she reads the life of the saint of the day, says the rosary, attends Mass, prays before an image of the Blessed Virgin, and receives the sacraments with great fervor and devotion. Every year she makes the Spiritual Exercises at La Granja because she has more free time there. She never tires of pious things. She is most charitable and gives away a great deal with a right good will. She is very compassionate and the sight of any misfortune touches her heart.1285 Her greatest trials have to do with external conduct, either because of her courtly training or because she hates to clash with worldly people. She tries to correct external abuses prudently, and although they are not terribly grave, she knows that it would be better if they were otherwise.1286 The following are a few of the most difficult areas she has to deal with:

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