Friday, July 22, 2005 +

One Hundred Years Ago (Charles de Foucauld)

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. On July 22, 1905, Charles de Foucauld wrote in his diary:

Jesus has set you up forever in the life of Nazareth. Missionary and solitary lives are only the exception for you as for him: carry them out every time His Will indicates it clearly; as soon as it is no longer indicated, return to the life of Nazareth.

Make, whether alone, or with a few brothers, the life of Nazareth your objective, in everything and for everything, in its simplicity and its breadth . . . no special clothing—like Jesus in Nazareth; no enclosure—like Jesus in Nazareth; a house not far from an inhabited place, but close to a village—like Jesus in Nazareth; not less than eight hours of work a day (manual or other, as much as possible manual)—like Jesus in Nazareth; no large land holdings, no large dwellings, no great expenses, not even large alms, but the utmost poverty in everything—like Jesus in Nazareth. In other words, in everything: Jesus in Nazareth.

Do not try to organize; prepare the establishment of the Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; alone, live as if you were always to remain alone; if you are two, three, a few, live as if you were never to be many. Pray like Jesus, as much as Jesus, allow, as he did, for a great deal of prayer; also as he did, allow for a great deal of manual work, which is not a time taken away from prayer, but given to prayer. Faithfully say the Breviary and the Rosary every day. Love Jesus with all your heart . . . and your neighbor as yourself for love of Him. The life of Nazareth can be lived everywhere: even there in the place most useful for one’s neighbor.

—Quoted in Michel Carrouges, Soldier of the Spirit: The Life of Charles de Foucauld, trans. Marie-Christine Hellin (New York: Putnam's, 1956), p. 227.

See also 2004 12 01 +.