Teachings of Pope Francis
Clear the principle and fundament “in the Christian understanding of the world, the destiny of all creation is bound up with the mystery of Christ, present from the beginning: «All things have been created though him and for him» (Col 1:16)” (n.99), Pope Francis proposes to the Christian some lines of ecological spirituality that, from convictions of faith, are concretizing in the works of charity. Francis puts an accent in the necessary leap from the field of ideas to active service: “the teachings of the Gospel have direct consequences for our way of thinking, feeling and living” (n.216). It can’t be only talking about ideas, ut above all about MOTIVATIONS and deeds that are born of spirituality to nourish the passion for caring for the world. “A commitment this lofty cannot be sustained by doctrine alone, without a spirituality capable of inspiring us, without an «interior impulse which encourages, motivates, nourishes and gives meaning to our individual and communal activity»” (n.216).
In our times there are many and severe partisan interests, not few open or camouflaged persecutions against those who denounce abuses and corruption, or simply try to change to better the dominating system in which there is primacy of image, progress of economy over welfare of persons and societies: “The alliance between the economy and technology ends up sidelining anything unrelated to its immediate interests. Consequently the most one can expect is superficial rhetoric, sporadic acts of philanthropy and perfunctory expressions of concern for the environment, whereas any genuine attempt by groups within society to introduce change is viewed as a nuisance based on romantic illusions or an obstacle to be circumvented” (n.54).
Pope continues pointing out the strong action of the Evil in the great sin of forgetting the neighbor, abandonment of the vulnerable, degradation of creation. “Today this sin is manifest in all its destructive power in wars, the various forms of violence and abuse, the abandonment of the most vulnerable, and attacks on nature” (n.66). But he adds that, from charity and mystics of personal and communitarian service, there is a space for hope and trust: “We can once more broaden our vision. We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology; we can put it at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (n.112). “ When our hearts are authentically open to universal communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one… Peace, justice and the preservation of creation are three absolutely interconnected themes… Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage” (n.92).
Experience and testimony of Francisco Palau
Theological life, mystic union, spiritual matrimony in the ecclesial experience of blessed Palau have a similar meaning that finds its climax and space in the created world, in te nature transformed in the vision of te heaven and earth, celestial and pilgrim Jerusalem, unity as lover and beloved, heritage and beauty to be achieved: “She is all yours, she is your Beloved, and your Lover, she is your inheritance, flesh of your flesh, bone of your bones; you two are one... You will be united with her and she with you in spiritual marriage” (MR 1,31; cf. Gen 2:24 and Ef 2:25). “I felt that the two were one… we two are one” (MR 3,3, and 14). This experience of Palau, which preferred place was a mountain, is expressed for many times in the most secret and intimate of his writings, My Relationships with the Church, where the unity of Creator, Creation, Creatures, is made patent as “one mystical body” (Id. 3,9: 3,12: 4,6: 9,34…), “all beauty is eclipsed at the sight of you” (MR 2,12). It’s defined by the great mystery and sacrament of which Saint Paul spoke and marked as a fundament of spiritual fecundity of the Church of Christ: “In this ineffable union the Church builds its maternity” (MR 3,6; Ef 5:32). Communion that makes unity of goods and persons, founded in theological charity, “love of God and love of neighbor” (MR 4,22). Charity that seals and condenses whole human existence, social and spiritual, as ecclesial mission: “All my relationships with the Son of God and with the Father are always in relationship with his Church” (MR 4,22).
It is a key for going out of oneself, “charity has always more and more” (MR 8,22). It is an eloquent voice and fiery passion, “like a flaming dart, divine love ignites and wounds” (MR 8,35). Paraphrasing some of the Holy Father, Saint John of the Cross and Sint Therese, Palau experiences and describes that “love cannot be idle in a man” (MR 15,1), it’s guided and wants to fulfil the will of God “that always leads to love the sons of man” (MR 21,12).
Doctrinally, the process and gradualism of charity in human heart is described in detail in The Church of God, particularly in Lamina 15 and 16 and in some letters (n. 38-42). He calls it “the two operations of charity” until a person will be configured with the will of God, that is no other thing than harmony and blessedness of creation that moans in the pains of birth: “Charity on earth produces in the heart of the receiver two operations: first, it unites a person with God, purging everything that there is in him which is against God; it disposes and prepares all his physical and moral strength so that he could move swiftly towards God without delay and do with facility and promptitude all what God commands and ordains. It works gradually and by degrees, and finished and perfected in the love of God, at the same time disposes and prepares all his strength regulating them to the welfare of his neighbours. For its first acts it puts in order all its companions,.. human heart spiritual egoism regulating his actions for the good of the Church” (Lamina 16,1). These two extremes, God and neighbor, “are one in the Church”, experience of spiritual matrimony, lived by mystics such as Francis of Assisi and Therese of Jesus (cf. Lamina 16,3 and 4).
Palautian process puts in direct connection ecology and mystics, theophany and universal mission, union with God and health of the men. There are many palautian texts that give witness to that. Here are some examples:
“In the solitude of the mountain I exhausted my strength in search of you; in the beautiful spring mornings, in the quiet afternoons of summer, in the cold, freezing nights of winter inside the caves; in the calm nights of summer I searched for you at the peak of the mountains… You were so near and I did not know it, you were within me” (MR 22,16)
“The love of God is the principal object of charity, the cause of our love for our neighbor. The love of God consists in the intimate and sacred union between the spirit of a person and the immense spirit of Creator of all things. This spiritual union is no other things than conformity of all or appetites and affections with the sovereign Will and of all our ideas with the eternal Truth” (Pages).
“Because God wants salvation of all men, it is consequent that a man (who is united with him in conformity of wills), tends with all his strength to this same object and here is the origin of the true love of neighbor” (Id).
The conclusion is put in the words of the Church and the response of a missionary, the essence of palautian charism and his missionary spirituality:
“The Beloved one is God and neighbor” (MR 5,6).
“When you are with them, you are with me and I in you” (MR 7,2)
“When you bless the nations, you bless me, because nations are me and I am them united to Christ” (MR 8,12)
“I am not aroused by dignities or honors: I love equally the supreme pastor of souls who seated upon the chair of St. Peter, governs the whole world, and that of the simple shepherd who pastures his flock on large rocks; neither do I look at the rich man more than the poor, at the old more than the young, to the healthy than to the paralytic, to man more than to the woman” (MR 21,10).
“My mission is to announce to the people that you are infinitely beautiful and lovable, and to tell them to love you. Love of God and love of neighbour: this is the object of my mission. And you are my neighbours forming in God only one thing” (MR 12,2).
Hna. Josefa Pastor Miralles CMT