Francisco Palau has left behind many things after his exile in Ibiza. But he remained faithful to others, spiritual direction of Juana Gratias being one of them. In some mysterious way their lives got entangled together and the future of one was depending on the fate of another. At some point both of them experienced failures in their attempts of choosing a style of life. Maybe they read the signs of times in a wrong way? Maybe they did mistake in reading the will of God? Or maybe it just wasn’t a right time and a right place… We will never know. The fact was that Juana wished to continue under spiritual direction of Palau, and he wished to continue journeying together with her. For better or worse. In this letter that he wrote to her in 1855, he settles some basic rules for their mutual relationship. He leaves her freedom to choose her own situation and position in life, he just wants to be in charge of her own personal spiritual growth and discovering the will of God for her in this peculiar moment.
It feels good to have someone with whom to share the heaviness of discernment. Of course, the final decision and responsibility always depends on oneself, but it is so nice not to have to do it all by ourselves. There are people who have this special gift of reading the signs of times, of discovering the pass of God in the history, of seeing further and deeper than the appearance. We show ourselves wise if we know to listen to them, and if we take responsibility for doing the will of God in our own lives, as discerned through their help. In religious life we used to call it MEDIATIONS and consider them essential in our spiritual life. „Used to”… because too many times we prefer to take decisions and discern all by ourselves, without counting on the wisdom of others. I pray today that we may rediscover the importance of mediations in our life and allow ourselves be guided and advised by those who might know more than we do.
Es Cubells (Ibiza) Our Lady of Virtues
June 1, 1855
My dear daughter: The proper understanding of direction is one of the fundamental basis on which rests the order of your actions; so that you will henceforth go on in essential matters I am going to indicate the principles that should rule us.
1st I will be in charge of consulting the will of God in all those that concerns the order of life, such as the spiritual and as well as the physical; understand that all those serious and difficult steps and actions could have serious consequences.
2nd Upon knowing the will of God I will communicate it to you, explain it and will make you to understand.
3rd I will be in charge of your personal direction, but it would be convenient for you to have other companions in your community, be it for economy or for spiritual reasons. Regarding these, you have to know if they are nothing more than those who will constitute a family with you but I will remain in charge of deciding those actions that pertain to the order of the house; regarding their interior and spiritual direction they are free to follow the advice of any other director as long as they observe the house discipline; and while God and circumstances of time will not enjoin other thing, I am entirely free from this duty.
4th If in case you will be established as a religious community, I will be in charge of your interior and spiritual direction, but I am not responsible of the rules or of the social order of the community.
5th You shall do God’s will as shown to you by the director.
6th In extraordinary cases and anything unforeseen by the direction, you manage according to the rule of prudence.
7th In matters that are not serious, manage yourself as the circumstances inspire you.
8th In all things follow first the spirit of obedience rather than the obedience itself; interpreting my rational will rather than the letter of the command when there follow difficulties and unforeseen situations
Francisco Palau, Priest