La Habana, 5 de agosto de 2020
Dear Cardinal, so human and so close to your people.
Mr. Nuncio, dr. Leal received the title of Dr. Honoris Causa and the robe of the Lateran University.
Father Silvano, you were the one who administered the Anootion of the Sick last year. Father Ariel, Dr. Leal greatly admired and appreciated his father’s commitment as a believer.
My dear brothers: Father prior of the convent and Father Lester, director of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center.
Family, friends and brothers all: We are gathered to celebrate the sacrament of our faith by Dr. Eusebio Leal, Historian of the City of Havana, accompany his son Javier and his loved ones.
We will hear in the preface the following words: “Although the certainty of dying saddens us, we are comforted by the promise of future immortality. For the life of those of us who believe in you, Lord, does not end, is transformed and modified. As our earthly abode is undone, we acquire an eternal mansion in heaven.” Eusybic, a believer, has taken this step and is located off the banks of time, on the shore of the afterlife.
The Word of God, proclaimed, has been internalized and motivates me to keep in mind the words of the prophet (Isaiah 40:2). To my people, when you speak to them, speak to the heart. That is where I will share with you three confessions of faith:
The first, Martha’s, in the Gospel; the second, John’s, banished on the Island of Patmos, collected in the book of Revelation; the third, that of our dear Eusybian on the day he was seventy-five, united with ours.
The First Confession of Faith is presented to us in a deeply human picture
It’s the scene of a brother who’s dead, jesus’ friend. When Lazarus became ill, his sisters warnEd Jesus that his friend had worsened. Jesus took two days to leave Perea where He was preaching. And when Martha, her sister finds out that Jesus was arriving, she goes out to Bethany to meet her and almost reproaches her for taking two days to stop what she was doing.
He vents with Jesus and asks, Jesus, why did you take so long to come, why didn’t you leave what you were doing, what could be more important than my brother’s life?
And very human is the gesture of Jesus allowing Martha to speak, to be unholy, listening to her calmly and calmly. But Martha continues: I am also convinced that whatever you ask of the Lord, the Lord will grant it to you.
Martha, Martha, Jesus tells her, you do not know me well: “I am the Resurrection and Life. He who believes in me, even if he is dead, will live, and all that is alive and believes in me will not die forever. Do you believe this, yes or no?
It’s a direct question, first person. This is how Jesus speaks to each of us. And it is in the first person that faith is answered and confessed: “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God who had to come into the world.” He thinks he’s not hearing, but out of conviction, and… hopefully, with a convincing conviction. All part of the personal encounter with Jesus, a Jesus who does not go around and illuminates all that is human.
The Second Confession is that of a believer
The Apostle John, who is in exile because he has confessed to Jesus, shares not his sufferings to us, but the joy and joy that the vision he has had provides him.
“I, John, have seen a new heaven and a new earth, and I also saw the new Jerusalem embellished. And I heard a voice saying unto me, this is the abode of God… where there is no weeping, no death, no pain, for the old world has passed.
“I do everything new… I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Whoever’s thirsty to come to me and drink. I will be God to him and he will be a son to me.”
Dr. Leal lived with us and as we dreamed and worked to achieve a more livable world, to see a renewed, rejuvenated, beautiful Havana, and put his wits, his dream, his time and his talent in making it live by bringing it to life useless buildings, deteriorated monuments, forgotten houses. Day by day it was giving them life and he managed to see what someone publicly stated: The newest thing about Havana is old Havana.
We trust that God the merciful Father has said to him: “Come, dear Eusybio, rest with me, and close to my Mother, the Virgin of Charity, because you have worked, spent and worn out serving those most in need. You made a house for the homeless, nursery for the children, dreamed and made it possible for them to have a more human life. Come, blessed of my Father, for what you did with them with me did…”
The Third Confession, eusybian’s
When he turned seventy-five, someone asked him if he had ever thought about being a priest and his answer was clear:
“I never thought I was a priest, but I am a Christian out of conviction and what is left of me – besides the sense of faith – is that cultural legacy, in an ethical and philosophical sense that I identify with figures such as Fr. Félix Varela and other priests who contributed to the formation of our identity. and traits of my character that I owe to my religious formation and above all to someone who was my mentor, the Jesuit Fr. Fernándo Azcárate.”
In this sense and together with this third confession I share something personal: I have been in cuba for twenty-seven years and this Cuba that has welcomed me and loved me, has given me the great gift of meeting people, some who believe the same as me and others with a different faith. Believe and trust each other… what a great gift for one, of which Eussebio is no exception.
I have been able to accompany him and be by his side, especially in recent months, where the disease has struck him and turned him into a man of pain.
Impossible to forget the dialogues held on several occasions. Recorded I have his words when on November 12, 2019 I finished returning from Spain and approached to see him, had already received the Ation of the Sick, and his first expression was: “Father Manuel, how I have needed it”.
Also in my memory is the dialogue we had in the hospital, after the 16th of November, after the lighting of the Capitol… It was a dream, a dream that could not be recreated by watching it live… A great gift to have heard…
His last month has been marked by silence, as if this were the compendium of his vast doing. It is when the words cease, that that other language begins to develop in the heart, that will undoubtedly be spoken in the “new land” and make us understand the soul of the Father. It was his last great lesson, the same lesson we received every time we saw a handful of ruined stones transform into the architectural jewel of his beginnings.
Doctor Leal is gone and will no longer walk the streets of Havana, the city “Real y Maravillosa”: Havana of Eusebio… However, we know that his spirit remains among us. Now, we trust in the mercy of God that will see the Jerusalem of heaven, as she so often dreamed of seeing her Havana, without weeping, nor pain, dressed as a bride who adorns he hem for her husband.
To our God he became hopeful in his benevolence. and to God we become confident he has received him as a dear son. This Eucharist is to thank God for his life, to ask for his eternal rest and also to ask for all those who were part of his fruitful existence: for you Javier and your brothers, for the people who, with love and tenderness, silently, have been by his side, by the medical staff who attended him so carefully, for you , Luis, your faithful chauffeur, my feet and my hands, during these months, and for all of you. We all turn to God and say, Father, give him your peace. Rest in peace our dear Eusybian.