Name: Charles de Foucauld
Born: 15 September 1858, Strasbourg, France
Role in the Church: After a wild and restless life as a young man, he was Ordained as a priest and ministered to both native people and French troops in the North African desert. He had plans for a community of both priests and people which included routines of prayer, penance and faith communities living together.
Here are some extracts from the writings of Blessed Charles:-
For the sake of Jesus and the Gospels
We must read and re-read the Gospel without stopping, so that we will have the spirit, deeds, words and thoughts of Jesus always before us so that we may one day think, talk, and act as he did.
For the Young who find it difficult to believe
But let us have hope! Because whatever our faults may be, Jesus wants to save us. The more we have sinned, the closer we are to death, the more desperate our situation, the more, so to speak, Jesus wants to save us, because he came to save what was lost.
The prodigal son was received not only with inexpressible goodness, without punishment, without reprimand, with no memories of the past, but was received with kisses, with the best tunic and the ring reserved for the son of the master of the house. Yes, he was not only received like that, but he was actually sought out by this blessed father, and carried back by him from the far – off country.
In order to save us, God came close to us, mixed with us, lived with us in closest familiarity, from the Annunciation to the Ascension. For our salvation, he continues to come to us, to mix with us, to live with us, in the closest possible contact, every moment of every day, in the Holy Eucharist. That is your model: in everything be like Jesus of Nazareth.
The way of praying
We should read the Gospel with love, as though we were sitting at the feet of Jesus, at the feet of the Beloved, listening to him speak to us. Prayer is just conversation with God: listening to him, speaking with him, gazing upon him in silence. The best prayer is the one in which there is most love. Adoration, wordless admiration, that is the most eloquent form of prayer: that wordless admiration which contains the most passionate declaration of love.
Our whole existence, our whole being has to proclaim the Gospel from the rooftops. Our whole person has to ‘breathe’ Jesus. All our actions, our whole life has to cry out that we belong to Jesus, we have to present the image of a life lived according to the Gospel. Our whole being has to be a living proclamation, a reflection of Jesus, has to ‘breathe’ his beauty, make him visible, be a shining image of Jesus.
Relationships with others
See Jesus in every human being, and act on that vision: with goodness, respect, love, humility, gentleness … Live for Jesus.
I want all the people … Christians, Muslims, Jews, non-believers, to get used to seeing me as their brother, the brother of all. They have started calling my place, ‘the Fraternity’, and I am really pleased about that.
‘All things to all people’
One should try to become ‘all things to all people’, in order to bring them to Jesus – having for every person the goodness and affection of a brother or sister; doing whatever service we can, striking up friendly relations; being a caring brother or sister to everyone in order to lead people little by little to Jesus, by practicing the kind of gentleness he practiced.
The Prayer of Abandonment
Father, 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, t
o surrender myself into your hands without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.