28th July 2020

When we observe the world and humanity, and the challenging times that we have been going through in recent months, we see that the impact left by Pedro Poveda can speak out here today. Humankind is searching for answers in a time of high uncertainty, and Poveda’s legacy points to how and where we should direct our gaze.

– A gaze that sees each person as an individual
– A gaze that sees how humanity is suffering violence
– A gaze that leads a person to God.

The impact of a gaze that makes a person a person.

Pedro Poveda was skilled at looking, seeing and understanding the human person in such a way that he left a special impression at each encounter. He saw people’s capacity for resilience, perseverance, enterprise and excellence.

Pedro Poveda’s gaze on the people he met in Guadix, Oviedo, Covadonga, Jaén and Madrid, left its mark. We too can receive, welcome and experience the impact of that gaze today.

It is a penetrating gaze that sees beyond the ordinary daily life of a person who is hurt, weakened, sometimes humiliated and apparently limited. This gaze can perceive and discern the strength and dignity that comes from being unique and irreplaceable in the eyes of God. This is a gaze that recognises and appreciates a person’s greatness for what they are and for what they can become, and for their willingness to overcome difficulties and pitfalls. This is a gaze that builds, dignifies, and invites people to betterment and to excellence.

At this time of so much confusion when we can easily prioritise possessions and appearances over the fact of being, Pedro Poveda’s legacy encourages us to seek out people and to place in their hands the instruments and means that can help them to be themselves. They will feel that someone sees them and recognises their dignity regardless of sex, age or skin colour.

The impact of a gaze that sees humanity suffering violence

Pedro Poveda shared the concern of prophets and witnesses who observe and perceive that humanity needs peace in order to advance. We must seek peace and live in peace, not in violence. Peace humanises because it creates solidarity and fellowship and builds a future.

Pedro Poveda left us a legacy of an interior attitude that he himself practised and proposed to the Christians of his time: now is the time to give peace and to do things peacefully; not to follow the way of violence or resentment or revenge, but to exercise peace that is linked to justice.

Poveda said in 1920 that peace is order, harmony, and grace; it is compatible with pain, bitterness, and persecution; it is peace of heart, of conscience, of the fulfilment of duty; of reason that respects and appreciates things in line with their rightful value; of fortitude that remains fearless throughout the struggle and that is not vanquished by flattery or threats. (1)

This legacy gives us faith that does not falter but is firm and unwavering. It sees with the gaze of messengers of peace, peacemakers and the merciful.

The impact of a gaze that leads a person to God

Pedro Poveda understood the human person to be a being created by love and from love. It was his dream that each person could live a life of gratitude, thankful for this expression of creation that finds its source and origin in the God of Jesus Christ.

We meet so many people every day who have a desire for God but they do not know how to make it explicit. They seek God. Our way of looking at things and the meaning we give to our actions could help them to feel God’s action, the breath of God’s Spirit, God’s discreet presence in their lives.

Pedro Poveda’s legacy is a certain way of looking at things that opens us up to God. It is the style of the first Christian communities who invite us to be prophetic communities today. These communities give meaning to the great questions being asked by human beings and by our culture, questions that include the search for God. These communities appreciate diversity in religious experiences, and they are not closed in on themselves but find their centre in Christ. These communities are on a journey and engage in conversation, and they are open to diversity and always on the move.

Pedro Poveda’s legacy is a vision that allows a person to freely open up to the possibility of an encounter with God, the God of Life.

Maite Uribe, President of the Teresian Association.

(1) Obras, Vol I. Creí, por esto hablé, [158].