We live in the world of polarization of options: everyone, sooner or later, has to choose the way we want to live.
What will you choose? God’s way or world’s way?
Ibiza, May 8-9, 1854
My dear brothers: By chance I am writing you this letter because I had not received yet any news from Barcelona. We had time with Ramon talking and discussing about what we could do to be pleasing to God.
In all my life I do not see but persecutions, since my spirit rejects the world and in order to conserve my interest I will never swerve the way. If I remain here in Europe the bad Christians will neither leave me in peace nor in the desert, nor in the city: nor could I endure them nor will they tolerate me.
My exile has given me opportunity to know that the evils I feared are more serious than I thought of. The wickedness prevailed and the just hardly had strength to profess their faith, because faith in the past raised martyrdom, now it is regarded as a crime of disrespect to the authorities. How many of those disrespects the martyrs have committed before the kings and emperors!
The so-called religious and monastic virtues such as poverty, public penance, etc. the world had repelled and rebuffed and whoever wants to practice them, whoever wants to go back to the time of the friars and hermits, will be martyred of their vocation. Evil advanced, progressed, pampered them and it will follow its course and no human strength could oppose, and will fall by itself when the time comes, but its progress do not exempt us from the duty of attacking it.
I dream of nothing else but crosses, contradictions and combats, neither do I want any other way than that of the cross. One thing that gives me much pain is your situation. I like you as companions everywhere, because I believe you are courageous, efficient and determined in every combats, and on my part it will be my great satisfaction to have you always in my company, but if the enemies exiled me, what will be your situation? I desire and with all my heart would desire, that your situation will be such that you will be able to do manual work, live and die without leaving your vocation; for this we will do with all our strength to attain the end. As the last recourse, if we could not arrange it in Barcelona, you could retire to Cantayrac for sometime and I will take Ramón with me.
Yesterday we did a kind of comedy in the church of Ibiza. Hearing the news that spread about me, the clergy and the government authorities wanted to hear from me. With this object they came to celebrate the feast of the rosary in a church of Santo Domingo convent where I have to preach. Although the church was large enough, two hours before the function it was already full of curious people more than the religious and prayerful. The function comprised of praying the rosary.
I have just received – today May 9 – a parcel of letters. Until today I have not received any except one from M. Joaquina and also one from her for the owner of the boat. In all these correspondences I do not see anything definite, and so precisely I will leave things in its course. I could not dispose other things but you manage as you can. It is not in our hands to set in order our steps. God has counted all of them and I am united to his will, and never will I look at my own spiritual and physical interest, or yours, but that of God and of the Church and for the same way we will walk where he wants. We will be happy if death . . .
I have no more time now than just to read your letters and answer hurriedly the most necessary because the boat will be leaving this afternoon. After some days a boat will come and by that time I had already meditated, prayed to God on what you told me and I will answer.
For the moment I think it is convenient to discontinue those work of cultivating the land that will incur expenses to you. Stop completing the house, because you have to spend this on what you need for food. What you can do is to gather stones, hoe the vineyard, pull out vezas and do similar work, but not to spend on improvements or in reparations.
Regarding Jaime, let him go home and wait for my arrangement. I have already commended him to God and I will answer in the next mail, because now it is not possible. I need to meditate.
Ramón sends you greetings. He is a voyageur, in the afternoon he goes fishing and always brings me fish for supper. He buys hens for a peseta each and roosters like the ones you have for 5 reales, and in this way he becomes strong so that later he could endure better some penance that will come. He proposed to go there to learn lithography and it is possible you might see him at the hour you least expect. I embrace you all.
Avail of your father who esteems you.
P.S. [. . . ] to keep the house for another month, but I will write you every mail. I wish you all many blessings that this brother and father gives,
I received all what you have sent me in the parcel.
WHAT WAS HAPPENING?
The life of Fr. Palau or, better said, his lifestyle, so contrasting with the main stream of modern life, was disturbing for many persons, from outside and inside of the Chuch as well. The way of getting rid of him through false accusations did not result. Next step: exile, far away from Barcelona, from his friends, collaborators, people who supported him. Far away from those who were feeling uncomfortable with ideas he preached and life he lived.
Father Palau accepted his exile as a cross and a persecution, matters that constitute his ideal of life. In the first letter he sent from Ibiza, he recounts his first preaching in Ibiza. He regrets the painful situation of his companions and collaborators in Horta and gives them guidelines that they may get through.
It is difficult to remain faithful to what one believes in. Especially when it is opposite to what the world believes true. „No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon” (Mt 6:24). This truth many times makes as decide, take roads, make decisions that are not always easy, because they bear consequences not only for us, but also for those who in some way depend on us. In our world, which with every day goes astray from God and the Church, everyone we will have to face this decision: what is more important for me: my own comfort, spiritual and physical, or God and his Gospel? This decision we will have to repeat daily, almost in everything: things we buy (market that promotes solidarity and just price or big multinationals that care for nothing, nature included), medicine we take or cosmetics we use (made of natural products or with experiments on human embrions), the way we spend our time, channel we see in TV or internet. Life’s getting really complicated. Hopefully, like Fr. Palau, we will have courage to meditate and choose wisely, and we will have a true friend at our side, with whom to consult and look for wise advice.