“What joy when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’ They’re already stepping on our feet, your thresholds, Jerusalem.”
This stanza, from Psalm 122, is sure to be toned right now by the endearing passionist priest Carlos Elizalde Auzuberría who, on the morning of today, November 5, in Malaga, Spain, has departed for the Father’s House.
The cause of his physical departure has been COVID-19, and the news was not received from Havana or Spain (from where I was also written informing me), but from Saudi Arabia, something that might attract the attention of some, but which in the case of Father Charles is not strange, for his priestly testimony, his closeness to the faithful, the affection that lavished on those who knew him , his love and fidelity to the Church and to the Congregation of Passion, means that from the most remote corners of the world, from wherever someone who has had the grace to know him lives, will not fail to remember him, follow him and keep in touch with him.
On the other hand, while the news of his death has shaken many and ran like gunpowder, in his case this shudder has crossed feelings: on the one hand we are saddened by the departure of the priest, the faithful friend, the confessor, the confidant, the servant always close and attentive to the needs of the poor and the sick; However, in view of his physical departure many of us have a sense of peace for what we have gained: an intercessor who, if on earth, spared no effort (even at the expense of his own life) to succor the needs of many, how much more now than from Heaven he is looking at us in a quiet way, with his gaze fixed on the Light of God’s Blessed Presence!
It is not my intention to beatify it, let alone canonize it (this is something reserved exclusively for the competence of the Church), nor do I intend to make a panegyric by singing loas to it. No need. There is his work, there are those who mourn his departure, there are all those who, from majority anonymity, cannot silence their voice because they would shout the stones. And you can’t forget your “madness”; those before which it was common to hear: “That is one of Father Charles’s follies.” Blessed be God for this priest who knew how to preach and, above all, to live the madness of the Cross, blessed madness which he did so much good!
On the other hand, he was certainly not “an angel”, he was a human being with virtues and defects, with gifts and limitations. But his flaws and his human limitations (well known to his community brethren and even the faithful) did not prevent him from living his priesthood fully in such a way that, even though I am aware that recognition of it also falls exclusively to the authority of the Church, I dare say that he often practiced his “virtues to a heroic degree”.
Therefore, far from saddening us, we thank God for the gift given to us by Father Charles, and as the Church does allow for the field of private prayer, from today (beyond sensitive pueriles) we can say with total confidence and knowledge of cause: “Father Charles, pray and intercede for us”.