Today we remember the holy man of the desert, Blessed Charles de Foucauld! This was a man of great faith who lived a contemplative life in the desert amidst great physical and political difficulties. To learn more about him please click here.
Charles de Foucauld was born on September 15, 1858 in France. He lost his faith early in life, but at the age of 28 had a powerful conversion experience. From that moment on, all of his life was fixed on living the Gospel and his love for Jesus.
After a variety of experiences as a Trappist monk and a time spent in the Holy Land, he conceived of a new form of religious life, a life closer to the daily lives of the poor. As Jesus at Nazareth, he wanted to live amidst the people, rooted in a culture, sharing the condition of those who live from day to day by the work of their hands-- of those who have no security at all and who are the poorest of the poor.
He did not envision preaching the Gospel in words as such, but by crying it out with the witness of his whole life; a life lived in shared friendship, silence and prayer. He wanted to go beyond all of the boundaries of religion and race and to become known as a "universal little brother"; the little brother of his beloved Jesus.
Brother Charles hoped to found small fraternities of brothers..."What I dream of is something very plain and few in number, similar to the little communities of the first Christians...living the life of Nazareth, through work and the contemplation of Jesus...a little family, a little home, very small, very plain"... This dream would not be realized until after his death.
Brother Charles of Jesus died on December 1, 1916 at Tamanrasset in the midst of the Sahara. An innocent, defenseless victim of an assassin's bullet he fell to the sand like the grain of wheat which dies so that it can bring forth its fruit... Throughout the world today there are many little groups (religious brothers and sisters) which claim as their spiritual father-- Charles de Foucauld.
The Prayer of Abandonment of Brother Charles of Jesus
Father, I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You do I thank You.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only Your will be done in me,
as in all Your creatures,
I ask no more than this, my Lord.
Into Your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to You, O Lord,
with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, my God, and so need to give myself--
to surrender myself into Your hands,
without reserve and with total confidence,
for You are my Father.