From "Fr. Francisco Palau, OCD, Letters"
Published Rome, Carmelite Missionares, 1997
(Note Juana was Bl. Francisco's spiritual daughter, the direction in this
letter is beautiful for any to read and ponder)
To Juana Gratias: Gramat (France)
He is celebrating the octave of the Feast of Mt. Carmel putting his interior life in order, as though these were the last days of his life. Various possible ways for union-communion with God. Directives for Juana Gratias on prayer and examination of conscience.
Day of Our Lady of Carmel, 1857
Long Live Jesus
Dearest sister in Jesus Christ,
We are celebrating the octave of our most holy Mother, Our Lady of Carmel, and I shall spend it putting my things in order as though these were the last days of my life. Now for your affairs. I am awaiting your letter inorder to see to your exterior life. In the meantime, let us see the interior.
God's great work in man takes place in the Interior. The order that appears and is shown outside is the worok and effect of the order inside.
The three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity , aided by the highest and most sublime gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as understanding, wisdom, knowledge, and counsel, unite the creature, the human spirit, with his God, the souls with the Word of God. It is this sacred union that you must seek, hold and possess; in it lie the spiritual life, health and strength, and from it originate all the other virtues.
The soul looks to God under two aspects or forms: First as the object of all its affections, or as an infinitely good and lovable being, and this imagine robs the heart; and insofar as he is good, infinitely beautiful, this is, infinitely perfect, he captures our intellectual vision, our thoughts and meditations.
In this regard, the theological virtues and their gifts cause God and the soul to become on single thing through love and purity of thoughts. While this divine union takes place primarily and mainly in the soul, all the other virtues are like aids, attendants and armies of that guard, assist and protect this work. This is the love of God for the soul and the love of the soul for God.
Moreover, while the said union is worked out and ordered, another union begins; this is the one about which I have told you many times: the soul unites first with God as its beloved, as the center of its affection and vision, and then as its King, Lord, master and universal governor of the whole world. The first union turs the soul into a goddess, that is, it deifies, divinizes and makes it God's spouse. The second one elevates it to the dignity of queen, co-redeemer of the world, lady and princess. The first, is the love of God and the second, the love of neighbor, and since the love of God and of neighbor sums up the whole of God's work in the heart of men, and since this is the work to be started, continued and perfected in us and the fulfillment of the whole law, no one can enter the kingdom of God if this has not been done to a degree of perfection that God alone knows.
Here we have life, health and strength! How much one loathes whoever does not agree with this. Although I am far behind, I am however happy to preach, talk, write and meditate on this great work; the spirit is strengthened, animated and vivified by its contemplation.
These two unions are worked out in meditation, silence and in interior recollection. If you have so ardently sought solitude, retirement, seclusion from cretaures, and if you have no dreamed of deserts, believe me your vocation originated and originates from the fact that your poor soul knows, understands and touches the need to live in union with God, not in any manner, but according to the manner that God requires and wants. The soul knows the value of this union and understands clearly that it will find in it life and resurrection, nourishment and virtues. This is why it has searched for it. Where? By what means? Let us adore and respect God's designs and providence. Let us learn the lessons of life in order to correct errors and worries.
Where you are going to find, dearest sister, this union and through what means? I shall tell you in my letters, since this is the most interesting topic, the main one. Everything else is truly worthless for you. Let us come to it.
It is necessary that I direct the movement of your spirit in prayer and outside of prayer, since it is here where this holy union is worked out. And that direction is what precisely you asked for. In this matter you need doctrine and advices because they make the way easier. If I forget, remind me always of it, because this is what is important for you.
In prayer you shall find faith, hope and love. You are sufficiently instructed and experienced in the exercise of these virtues and the main preoccupations and errors you had have been eradicated. This is why you find the acts of union easy, sweet and satisfying, and without recognizing nor seeing the union, you feel it, you are at east with God, you deal easily and amicably with him and readily make friends with him. Well, I have nothing to tell you about this at present except that you must keep on and taking advantage of this interior ease with God, you must ask for graces, confirm and strengthen your moral virtues, and making yourself strong in this interior castle, you must fight your moods of sadness and their causes, uproot your unfounded sorrows aand get ready (My paper got over for hand not planned to write so extensively. But since I am at it I will go on) on the dreadful battles that the three enemies wage against this divine union. Live united with God and see to it that nothing, whether hunger or thirs, the sword, fortune or misfortune, nothing wahtever disturbs your heart. Live united with God and everything else vanish like smoke.
When you examine your conscience (attention to what I am going to tell you) do not go too far; look at it as we look at the seashore from the top of the Alps or the Pyrenees, lightly, without going into details. If you do not see anything clearly and certainly wrong, go ahead and be at peace with your God. Mind this, I repeat, anad do tell me how you are faring, because the devil could trick you and do you serious hard with his false doctrine and suggestions. This union produces peace of mind; then search for peace. Let nothing disturb you, be it good or bad. Give up everything else except your peace of mind. Wheny ou feel restless, sad, sorrowful and embittered, look for the cause, and ifi it is not worth being sorrying about (and nothing that does not offend God is worth being sorry about), get rid of your anxiety; if you do not see the causes but feel restless and dissatisfied all the same, put up with it, arm yourself with patience, let the storm pass, and your inner peace will return.
This union, my sister, demands a heart at peace, calm, unalterable, like some place in heaven, and we can and must acquire it fighting hard whatever threatens if from outside ourselves.
This union, my dearest sister, is within you but needs to be worked out, consolidated and strengthened. To this effect I shall not fail to instruct you, but you are open to me, for I need to know.
Now for the other unione. The first one sees God as infinitely lovable and beautiful; its aim is the contemplation of his attributes and perfections. The second union sees him as the creator, conserver, governor, redeemer, glorifier and vivifier of the whole world.
At certain moments, the spirit of the Lord will move and lead you towards this second union and you have to cooperate. He will be presented to you as the Lord, king and governor of the world, the Lord God of hosts, and wil take you to objects resembling this presence. Since the first union is not strengthened or prefected or completed except in the second, you need to start by this.
"The Struggle of the Soul with God", this little book will instruct you. You need only changed the object. Say the universal Church instead of Spain. The one who fights in defiance of the city, fights for his own cause. You must begin by meditating on Jesus crucified and in his physical body see the mystical and moral body of the whole Church; and since you are his friend and his beloved, you must start fostering the love of neighbor using the prayer after the manner indicated in the "Struggle". But you should not think of this in your prayer in such a way that you forget the first union. The first thing you have to consider in prayer is your union with God.
Enough for now. My time is over. Biel and Ramon are calling me for vespers. In another letter I will speak more about these important matters, and when you write to me, do not fail to reply giving me an account of what you do in this regard and about your doubts and ways.
Goodbye, Your solicitous father,
Excerpt from "Fr. Francisco Palau, O.C.D. letters"
Carmelite Missionaries (The Missionaries were founded by Bl.
Via del Casaletto, 115
00151 Rome, Italy
Home | Back |