We all know how to find good excuses for our lack of charity with others, pandemic being the main of them. But there is also the challenge to show our fidelity of friends, especially when we are not available in person to manifest to others our care. Are we creative enough to be close even being far?
Ibiza, May 24 1854
My dear friend: I received your most esteemed letter. We had no time for saying goodbye. I thought of passing your house before leaving but when I arrived at the house of the governor I was arrested until the hour of my departure. Mr. Serra, the commissioner accompanied me to the boat… I could have passed without such honors. I could not return to your house after taking the passport, as I had the intention. Fortunately, I did not show up on Thursday evening as suggested by the bishop. And on Saturday morning, I was disappointed when I had an unexpected meeting of the commissioner…
I still owe you, God knows how much. It will be one month pay for the room. In case, get alms from mass and inform me.
The first station of the Way of the Cross was inaugurated on Passion Friday. Since I do not know the result and I am not free, I could not think or resolve anything. To the effect, tell that gentleman that with time and patience much could be achieved. Greet him on my behalf.
Tell Mrs. Marieta, your wife that now I will provide her an easy and very sure means of communication. And that is: to tell all her story to the guardian angel, and send it to me. He will tell me by word of mouth and sure enough that no one hears us. You can rely on him because he is reserved and very trustworthy. He will come lighter than the Majorcan and will be very faithful to his charges. We are rational beings and the soul does not need to come close. We are all in one same room. This room is God. In him we exist, we move, and we live [Acts 17,28]. I will send him back and she will see how happy he returns loaded with advice and holy inspirations.
Tell Doña Antonia that I have been very emotional of the death of her mother and that I would have wished to stay in her house in order to render her solace and services that religion dispenses on such moments. I grieved so much for not having more visits at the time of her sickness, but since I lived outside and in the last days of my stay in Barcelona my head was so distracted, this is my excuse of a lack of charity. Doña Antonieta has an excessively noble and refined character and in moment of misfortune and adversity she knew how to handle them. Assure her on my behalf that I share in her sorrows and I accompany her in spirit in her mourning. Even though I am unavailable, she can certainty count on the fidelity of a friend. Without doubt Doña Antonieta has been in charge of the printing press. This is all I have to offer.
As for the rest Ramón will end this letter… Goodbye.
Your friend, Francisco Palau, Priest
WHAT WAS HAPPENING?
It has been already a month since Father Palau arrived exiled to Ibiza. In this letter, he narrates the hardships of his arrest. He was not able to bid goodbye to the one who had rented a room. After one and a half months, he does not know how it will all turn out. Not being free, he cannot resolve anything. He shows, with priestly gentleness and charity, „a friend’s fidelity” in the sorrow for the death of his correspondent’s mother.
Due to his sudden and unexpected arrest, Palau had no time for goodbyes. Reading this, I thought of so many persons who are dying these days due to the COVID19, alone, far from their loved ones, with no opportunities of saying goodbye, of sending last smile and words of love… But Palau counted on some extraordinary means of communication with his friends: the angels who can freely come and go, bring good news and consolation with some pieces of advice. I know we have others means, we use more internet than angels, but it would be nice to return to this faith in presence and guidance of our Guardian Angels, and sometimes „charge” them with communications that no social media can bring to our loved ones: our love, hope, faith and charity. May there will be no „excuses for the lack of charity”, especially now that we are approaching Christmas that this year many of us will spend far away from the people we love and call our family. Let us show creatively our „fidelity of a friend”, even when we we are not physically available to hug, kiss, embrace, smile and share love.