Saturday, December 1, 2018

Charles de Foucauld in His Own Words

Blessed Charles de Foucauld's feast day is December 1, the anniversary of his martyrdom at the hands of a desert militia in Algeria in 1916. The man who called himself the "little brother" of Jesus and the "universal brother" of all people had lived as a contemplative and servant of the poorest of the poor, the nomadic tribes, their slaves, and anyone who sought him out.

Not only did his spiritual ideal become the basis for the founding of the Little Brothers of Jesus (and then the Little Sisters) within a generation of his death; he also was the first in a series of witnesses in Algeria who lived a mission of charity and solidarity with the people, as Christians living together with Muslims in dialogue and mutual respect. During Algeria's civil war at the end of the last century, many of these would also suffer martyrdom at the hands of radical Islamist factions.

A group of these martyrs in Algeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine (whose story was so beautifully presented in the 2010 film "Of Gods and Men") and Bishop Pierre Claverie, will be beatified this coming week.

The spiritual family of Brother Charles continues to grow in so many ways, with the humble, quiet persistence that accompanies and signifies the transcendent power of Christ's love.

Quotations of Blessed Charles de Foucauld:

"Above all, always see Jesus in every person, and consequently treat each one not only as an equal and as a brother or sister, but also with great humility, respect and selfless generosity."

"Our entire existence and being should shout the Gospel from the rooftops. Our entire person should breathe Jesus. All our actions and our entire life should proclaim that we belong to Jesus."

“We do good, not by what we say and do, but by what we are, by the grace which accompanies our actions, by the way that Jesus lives within us, by the way that our actions are Jesus' actions, working in and through us."

"I want to accustom all the inhabitants, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and nonbelievers, to look on me as their brother, the universal brother. Already they're calling this house 'the fraternity' (khaoua in Arabic) -- about which I'm delighted -- and realizing that the poor have a brother here -- not only the poor, though: all men."

"What is there in common between heaven and me -- between its perfection and my wretchedness? There is your Heart, O Lord Jesus. It forms a link between these two so dissimilar things."

‎"Let us concern ourselves with those who lack everything,...those to whom no one gives a thought. Let us be the friends of those who have no friends, their brother."

"The love of God, the love of men, that is my whole life, that will be my whole life, I hope. When we can suffer and love, we can do much, the most that one can do in this world."

Prayer of Abandonment:

I abandon myself into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.