“A Brief Dialogue of the Friend with the Beloved” Given in Washington, DC on May 30, 2009
by Fr. Carlos Buela, founder of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara
In homage to the friendship with my friend Dr. Antonio Borrell and his distinguished family.
Ramón Llull was born in Palma, Majorca around 1232 and died in 1315. He was a mystic, apologist, philosopher, theologian, poet and saint. The work that brought him renown was Blanquerna, composed as a fruit of Llull’s hermitic life around the year 1285. Included in this work is a part entitled Book of the Friend and the Beloved [Libro del amigo y del Amado] of 366 brief and concise sentences. He cites several aphorisms surrounding the dialogue between the friend and the Beloved. He does it in such a way that the symbols, allegories and metaphors are combined with dialogues, more narrative phrases and proverbs. Scholars concur in emphasizing that the main sources of inspiration oscillate between the Bible, Franciscanism, Neo-Platonism, Sophism, and troubadour poetry. Sophism and Franciscanism influenced his vision on the nature as revelation of the divine presence, while the troubadour current provided him with the appropriate resources to let his mystical and philosophical thoughts intertwine in a dialogue of love.
José María Pemán seeks to creatively imitate him in his poem “Homage to Ramon Llull” (1950), which we will follow in this sermon on the occasion of the Mass of Perpetual Vows of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara, here in the USA. On one hand, Pemán emphasizes in “Meeting in Majorca” the qualities of Lull as “the most captivating giant”, and as “mad, mystic, rational.”On the other hand, Pemán praises his implacable logic and his openness to all branches of knowledge, “he was the man of the total assimilations of all things in the unity of Truth.” He also argues that Llull understood “all the unity of the world, later to leave it, to touch it and embrace it,” like the saints in Heaven. (OS, I, pp. 150-151). In addition, he utilizes the Spansih mystics who came after Llull as sources. “Homage to Ramón Llull” respects Llull’s epigrammatic planning, but limits himself to 57 propositions of which we will see only a few. Like Llull, Pemán introduces the Friend and the Beloved (both words capitalized by Pemán) as the protagonists of this dialogue of love. The Friend is each baptized person—particularly each person consecrated with vows because of their special consecration—who should seek union with the Beloved, who is Jesus Christ. I will write the actual sentences of Pemán’s poem in red, as a sort of guide.
I Where is the Beloved?
They asked the Friend
Where was the Beloved…
“In the sigh,” he responded
with which you have asked me.”
III In love signs are enough: gestures, winks, sighs, tears, smiles…
Friend: why do you strive
to tell me your words
when for me your signs are enough?
IV Fruit of contemplative love.
His face, in that afternoon,
was imprinted in me so heavily,
that in order not to erase it
I forced myself not to sleep.
V Missionary love.
I am digging the earth
to see if I find the affection
with which I want them to love You!
VII Very near is the sigh of the Beloved.
The sigh that dares
More close is that from the Beloved
than is the candor of the snow.
VIII The nature of the Beloved.
Not wise, He is Wisdom;
Not light, He is the Sun;
Not joyful, He is Joy;
Not loving, He is Love.
XIV Love and death.
The friend thought of death:
and he was filled with joy
thinking that he would go to see You.
XV To love in order not to die.
If your Love stopped loving you,
what would you do with your love?
Keep loving the Beloved
in order to not die myself.
XVII The Reward of Love.
The Friend asked the Beloved
the reward of so much love.
The Beloved added up the sum…
And added his Heart.
XVIII We must ask Jesus to give us as much as He can of Himself.
-What do you wish for from Me?
-I wish that you would give me
as much as you can of You.
XX Pain is healed increasing the agony.
Love was in pain
from agony and sorrow.
The greatest doctor came:
and increasing his pain
wholly healed the Love.
XXII In the love of Jesus absence is presence.
The Friend was complaining
of not finding Your presence.
You said to him, «My absence,
was I not, by chance, with you?»
XXIII I cry for having cried so little.
Why are you crying so much,
Friend of my soul?
And the Friend responded:
“I cry for having cried so little!”
XXIV Name, end, beginning, middle, beyond Love, what?
-What is your name? –Love.
-Where are you going? –Towards Love.
-From where do you come? –From Love.
-If Love is your entire possession
And to Love you are going and from Love you are coming,
Beyond Love, what have you?
-The remains of so much Love!
XXV To moan, to love, to cry, to laugh.
-Why this sad groaning?
-Because they know not how to love…
I felt like crying,
And He started to smile.
XXX The gaze of Jesus.
-Tell me, my Beloved, what is love?
And he remained looking at me
For the whole response!
XXXI What’s lacking? Lovers! Lovers!
I looked at the clouds, the waters, the flowers,
I listened at the nightingales
from the highest peaks…
-Tell me, My Love, if you are lacking something.
– Lovers! Lovers!
XXXIII He teaches how to love until dying of love.
-Do you have many Lovers?
-I have few, because such an occupation
keeps killing them from love…
XXXVI He who loves knows all knowledge.
Love came to my presence.
-Why have you come? –To learn…
– For do you not know all knowledge,
Love, if you know how to love?
XXXVII All creation is a reflection of God.
-Roses, did the one I love pass by?
– Tell us the signs! –Beautiful ones!
Graceful, White, Light …
The roses looked at each other.
Signaling the way.
XXXIX Dryness of Love.
Tears were denied by the Beloved
to my dryness of love.
When I saw the damp field
I cried for not having cried
As the flowers cried.
XL The true disciple of the Lord is always accused by the world.
They accused the Friend
In the tribunal of the World:
Because he went around as a vagabond
In beggar’s clothing.
But my Friend pleaded
His entire reason clearly,
“If I live my way,
My way is one of one in love.”
“Don’t oblige me to live faithful
To what I ignore and despise,
that the Love finds foolish
whatever is not Him.”
XLI All creation is a reflection of God.
I saw a lily and I believed
that my Beloved was in her;
Later, I saw a beautiful rose
and thought he was there;
Later, in a simple wallflower
and in a river and a star…
and it was because he was in me!
XLIV In Jesus’ Love there is no return of what has been given.
-Give me your knowledge and power!
– To the beloved I gave it …
-Tell him to give them back to you…
– He doesn’t want to return them to me.
XLVII What is Love? That is the response.
He told me with a sigh:
“Explain to me what is Love…”
– Repeat yourself the question,
that is the answer!
XLIX He who feigns not to understand all, understands all.
Good understanding is to know
That the one who feigns not to understand all
Begins to understand it all.
LVI It is always necessary to suffer.
It is in vain to seek the flower
Without hurting yourself on the thorn.
Suffer a little ….that love
makes his way by itself.
LVII To die of Love.
– Teach me a song
To pray it to the Friend…
– Continue, Friend… – If I continue
I will be brokenhearted
– And do you want more prayer?
– Give me the knowledge that gathers
the desire and the presence…
– Ask, friend, ask,
– What do you want more knowledge for?
– Give me your burning flame
since I die for love!
– And do you want greater life?
I do not know, Beloved, what I want,
Nor do I know what this loving is,
Nor do I know if it be war or peace…
– If you know already what it is not to know,
why do you want to know more?
XLII The Son and Our Lady.
Just as by the Sun, the dawn,
So by the light of the Son judge
The light of Our Lady!
XLIII The Friend and the Beloved, Jesus Christ.
– What is his name? – Without name.
– Is he strong or weak? – Both.
– Is he not God? – But he is a man…
-Then is a man. – But he is God.
– Give him a name. – Call him All.
– Teach me somehow
how to please him and pray to him.
– Cry in silence. – It seems
a prayer very short and quite bad!
– Give yourself wholeheartedly. – Who presents
so poor an offering?
– Your Nothingness is so infinite
that his All makes it equal.