To take decisions is something we cannot escape from. Be it a kind of coffee to take every morning, be it a course to study in university, be it whom to marry… we need to decide.
The purpose of our life as Christians and palautians is to inline our life’s choices with God’s will. Meaning to say, it is even more complicated than normal because aside of knowing what we want of our life, we need to count on what God invites us to be. And we all know that to discover His will is not as easy as it may seem, especially when there are many options to choose from among.
Life of Francisco Palau, and of those bounded with him for better or worse, was full of moments that needed deep discernment. This is the case of Juana Gratias. It’s been already several years since her destiny was linked with the destiny of her spiritual director. In the situation of exile, the grace of God was leading Palau to deeper trust in God’s plans, and he was trying to transmit it to Juana. Between the two, they were looking for the best solution to Juana’s situation who in 1856 found herself alone with no plan for her life.
For this crucial moment, Palau gives Juana the way to proceed to discern well. It should be done in prayer, in strict retreat, meaning to say, with no exterior influence, only her and God. In this retreat, she ought to examine, meditate and write about her feelings. It is important to notice that for Palau any choice is made not only based on logic (examination) but also on sentiments (meditation that includes consideration of God’s Word and awareness of the interior movements that these words awaken in our soul). Only in taking into account of both, reason and heart, we can find out the best for us.
Have you ever tried to discern like that…?
To Juana Gratias: Ibiza
Es Cubells (Ibiza) December 1856
- These are the ways of life that you could choosefrom:
1st Solitary life according to various models more or less similar to those of Jesus Christ in the desert [Mt 4,1; Mk 1,12; Lk 4,1] neither a house built by men nor sure means of subsistence, abandoned to the providence of the Creator.
2nd The secluded life under the protection of the neighbors, with no fixed means of physical subsistence, poor and stripped of temporalities, neither a house of your own nor any temporal possession, alone and with no other companion except God and his angels.
3rd The same way of life with a companion who has the same vocation.
These three ways of life, frightful to nature, are very similar to the life of Jesus Christ, and it demands the practice of penance in heroic degree, of humility and scorn and contempt of oneself and of the world, the renouncement and detachment from all material goods, poverty, love of God and the celestial things and fortitude in the physical sufferings.
4th To settle in one’s own house, arranged according to the laws of poverty, with one companion and with no means of subsistence. In the first three ways of life there is a perfect renouncement, in this 4th binding begins; the possession takes away freedom, but offers in exchange the stability in the way of life.
5th To settle in one’s own house alone or with a companion, with certain fixed means of subsistence, such as an orchard or a piece of land to cultivate or with some other means.
6th To settle in one’s own house with two or three companions setting in order the work and means of fixed subsistence.
7th To live in a religious community.
- These are ways of life that could provide actions toyour life which you could choose from. They are all good inthemselves, but you have to choose only one, and in this choice enter the counsel of God and of men.
With regards to the place, territory and way of practicing the chosen life, in this you also need counsel.
- I could not decide on anything unless you first makea rigorous spiritual retreat, wherein you will examine, thinkand meditate on your choice. After you have done the meditation, and having consulted God on what is more convenient for you, put in writing the sentiments that God may want to communicate to you regarding this matter. You will give me this in writing and after seeing and examining them I will tell you by word of mouth on what you have decided. I will present them to God and to make revision before God, at the end I will give you my last decision.
This is what I thought you should do in order to be sure of a good choice of the way of life.
Dispose of a father who desires your sanctification.
Francisco Palau, Priest