To Juana Gratias: Lérida
Barcelona, [March-October 1853]
For Sr. Juana
Dearest daughter: What does God think of your way of life? I have no other interest but the glory of God in serving you in truth. About your vocation it is necessary that I will tell you what I think and what I feel. The guardian angel, that the divine providence has assigned to watch and guide you, defend and sustain all your material and spiritual interests, seems to have one holy vanity or pride in presenting to your Creator your poverty and your way of living. You had the opportunity to know me. I am very sober and moderate in praising anybody. Rarely have I been heard to extol and praise the virtues of anyone of my sons or daughters; quiet the contrary. Nevertheless, I should and must in this occasion tell you and to let you know that, in my judgment and feelings, your way of life is acceptable, pleasing and delightful to God and to his angels. I have no other purpose in telling you this but that, convinced of the true way, reject with more strength the temptations, and look after your perseverance.
Voluntary poverty carries along public penance and mortification. It seems that nowadays the devil had determined to uproot the precious flowers from the garden of the Church. In which part of the garden we will find them? Where are we going to find the voluntary poverty and true renunciation? The divine providence, or God as gardener has sown you throughout creation in the gardens of the Church; and you are a kind of seed that has to produce as fruits and flowers the poverty and penance. Conserve and sustain yourself growing in virtues; I do not wish to deceive myself, but for the moment carry on, it seems that you have made a good start and promise to bear good fruit.
Goodbye and avail of this father who loves you.
THEME OF LETTER
Those years were difficult for Juana and her companions due to the fact their lifestyle was not accepted but others, in a special way by bishops who were afraid of any novelty in their diocese. The “sisters” encountered many unpleasant comments and judgement that, for sure, made them think about the value of their choice. If it is so unacceptable, maybe it has no value…? Palau makes them rewrite this question: what does God think about your way of life? He intents to make them focus in a real reason of their choice: you are not here to please the people, but to please God. That’s true, the way of life chosen by them, life of poverty and renunciation, isn’t and was never much popular among the masses. But… does it really matters? The public penance and mortification in front of the people who doesn’t accept is a natural consequence of this choice. More: it is your true vocation, the way for you to become happy and satisfied. Your life has to bring this fruits of poverty, for this reason God has sown you in the garden of your Church. So just carry on, remain faithful to your first choice, persevere in good work, even though the world won’t understand it.
Many times we show in our attitude much interest for what do other think of us, of our style of life. We make depend our good mood on how many “likes” our posts receive on facebook, twitter, instagram, tiktok, tumblr, youtube or any others social account we might possess. Have you noticed that there are so many way to know what people think about us and about what we do? On the other hand, to know what God thinks of us there is only one way: silent and humble prayer that puts one’s life in God’s hands expecting it all from Him. What do you think: what does God think of your way of life? In this time of pandemic, our life has “migrated” to social platforms of communication. We search there for information, formation, entertainment. But also for social acceptation. We measure our life, our success, by “likes” and “hates”. We measure others by our thumb up or down. And sometimes we lack maturity to say that my life doesn’t depend only on what others think of me. What do you yourself think about your life? What does God think about it? Your angel is constantly watching the face of God, observing what to do to make you more similar to him, specially in His own poverty and renunciation. He voluntarily renounced it all becoming the poorest of the poor so that you might have an abundant life. Is it truly abundant? Or just a “fake” life with filter so that others may like it?