… Francisco Palau wrote to a friends with whom he was courageous and loyal in mission.
His Eminence Cardinal Joan Braz de Aviz, thank you for your presence in this celebration. Thank you, beloved brothers and sisters, family who with effort have travelled, friends who accompany me in this endearing afternoon. Precisely, because of the circumstances we are living, I value more if possible this gift of encounter and that you have decided to make yourself present.
“If we don’t know what we receive, we don’t awake to love” (Life 10,4), says Saint Therese, whose feast we have celebrated only few days ago. With this teresian affirmation I would like to begin this thanksgiving for my 25 years of religious consecration. Content of this sentence is a key for a present moment of my life, and have been fundamental in my journey. To receive and do it being aware was the experience that made me respond “be it done” in Zaragoza on 15th day of August on 1995. It has been also the experience that has accompany me during days of light and days of darkness, and has been precisely this “not being aware” that has clouded some moments of my existence, for sure you will agree with me that in the journey of following we transit with assurance that God is always faithful, but also in a struggle of our faithfulness-unfaithfulness.
To take a break, to remember, to acknowledge all that I received freely, is a key not only to embrace God’s action, his great mercy for me, but also to affirm that one day I heard my father say in a moment of pain and difficulty: “if God has accompanied us until now, has helped us and has never abandoned us, we have no reason to think that he won’t do it in the future”. What a lesson of confidence! With what simplicity it is expressed and what a depth in its meaning! Yes, to remember the action of God makes me recognize that without Him, without His presence and action, I wouldn’t be today who I am, and by the other hand, it helps me to strengthen my faith and trust that His fidelity, present until now, will continue accompanying me until the day of a definitive embrace in the Kingdom without end.
During these years of my life there is so much that I have received. I received as a gift the family that God gave me, an experience that marked my Christian being with all this word contains. It was precisely in the womb of my family where I began to understand the meaning of the words important for religious life. I learned to share, love, be attentive, forgive, serve, obey etc., attitudes and values that later I continued strengthening but that already had their basis from the beginning of my existence.
I give thanks for the gift of calling, that experience of feeling being looked at and invited to follow Jesus and give myself to my brethren, to be the expression of God’s love for humanity. Thank you, Lord, because from that day, from that first invitation your fidelity, your love and care made tender gesture though persons that have accompanied my journey has never failed me. Thank you, because at the side of your fidelity there is trust that you put in me, “you trusted in me” even knowing of what kind of mud I am made; thank you for having counted on me.
Thank you for my Congregation of Carmelitas Misioneras Teresianas to which you invited me and to which I belong. For sisters who with their testimony have encouraged my offering, for those who have been teachers in the art of loving without reserve; thank you for those who, even without knowing, have faced me with truth we hear in the Gospel: “to give Cesar what belongs to Cesar, and to God what belongs to God”. Thank you for those who trusted in me and commended me tasks that I felt were more than my capacities and even my strengths, because it was there were I experiences together with the Apostle ” I can everything with the One who comforts me” (Flp 4:13).
I received much, I can even say that very much, from persons to whom I served in different places where obedience sent me. For the poor, the preferred of the father, who taught me what Teresa had said: “God suffices”. They were my teachers in what the word trust really meant and what it meant to put hope only in God. How I could not love, continuing giving my life when I feel so blessed?
I received much from different cultures in which I was blessed to love, and from Congregations with which I shared life and mission, that continues adding to the debit of my life. Here are present some persons that I had pleasure to meet in other countries, and I am sure they will agree with me that the mutual enrichment is an added value and that when we put in common the gifts and charisms, the Spirit creates without ceasing, revealing himself as giver and constructor of communion. I continue receiving much from this intercongregational sharing from the role I play in these moments in my Congregation. Relationships that we continue weaving in UISG make my heart wider, help me to open new horizons, sustains my offering in the effort of my present mission, help me together with others to search and make reality the will of God. Thank you, sisters with whom I have shared moments in formation and missionary commitments, thank you to those who have show me your total availability and collaboration in moments when I needed the most.
And finally thank you to my sisters from general council, with whom in these moments I animate the life and mission of our Congregation, thank you for your generous surrender, your disposition and good deeds, for animating and sustaining mission you have been entrusted. Thank you to community of general house who with care collaborate with us and make possible a home when we stay and when we return.
Thank you, Lord, for my sisters in Congregation to whom I feel united, not because of bonds of blood but because of bonds of Spirit and palautian spirit. I put each one of them into your hands so you may sustain them and they may feel how much I love them.
What else did I receive? I say it at the end, but this is the real reason for this celebration: I received palautian charism given to Francisco Palau, our Founder, a gift that I embraced and I continue embracing as Church, in the Church and for the Church. Together with him, Fr. Palau, I have been learning what it meant to live and die for the Church; I have been discovering the necessity of contemplating, of feeling I am this Body with whole humanity; I am learning what it means to acknowledge each persons as a living image of Trinity and commit myself with all my strength to beautify her wherever her beauty is hidden, where the image of God is dusted or deteriorated.
Although I got “distracted”, the way Teresa of Jesus used to say, these are only some short scraps that show some of received things. Can you only imagine how many experiences, faces, images, places etc. are coming to my mind and heart? With all I have received I can’t do other thing than, in the words of this great woman, wake up to love, to continue loving. Or, in the words of our Founder, “the least I can offer you is my life, to correspond with your love” (MR III,2).
I don’t want to finish these long speech without expressing my gratefulness for being a part of this family of Teresian Carmel and giving thanks in a special way to this community of Teresianum for their reception in this day, one more example of the bonds that unite us as family. Without their availability it would be impossible to celebrate this Eucharist today. Thank you also to all the members of community of International College who have been collaborating and have prepared this celebration.
I wish that my mornings and nights will continue like that one named by our Founder of courage, fidelity and, why not, of certain craziness in risks and surrender. I ask you to continue praying for me so I may continue living with passion this vocation to which I have been called. I ask God for his special blessing for each one of you present here.