Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blessed Charles de Foucauld

"As soon as I believed there was a God, I understood that I could not do anything other than live for him."  So wrote Charles de Foucauld.  Born a French aristocrat, he passed early adulthood as a fun-loving playboy and military officer.  But by way of a brief stint as a Trappist monk and then as a carpenter in Nazareth, he ended up a priest leading a solitary life among the Tuareg people in the Sahara desert of Algeria.  It was there that he was shot by Bedouin marauders on this date in 1916.  Despite his "hidden" life (not unlike the early years of another carpenter from Nazareth), his profound writings and humble example have had a wide influence.  His "prayer of abandonment" (composed in Nazareth in 1897) captures well the heart of his spirituality:

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 you 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.

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