Charles de Foucauld. Archbishop Sapienza: “Brother of the last” | AgenSIR

A book to “let oneself be infected” by the life and spirituality of Charles de Foucauld, proclaimed a saint by the Pope on May 15 last. It was signed by Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, regent of the Prefecture of the Papal Household

(Photo: ANSA / SIR)

“Let yourself be infected by Brother Charles’s experience of Jesus, in a sincere and tireless search for the absolute and in an ardent love for the living person of Jesus Christ”. This is the invitation contained in the latest book by Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, regent of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, entitled “Brother of the last” and dedicated to Brother Charles de Foucauld, proclaimed a saint by Pope Francis on 15 May last. In Tamanrasset, on December 1, 1916, Brother Charles wrote in his small notebook: “Live as if you were to die every day as a martyr … Every minute, live today as if you were to die tonight”. And to his cousin, Maria de Bondy: “As it is true, we will never love enough: but the good Lord who knows the mud he made us with, and who loves us more than a mother can love her son, the good Lord who does not he can die, he told us that he will not reject those who go to him… ”. He dies the same day, murdered by desert raiders. “Nobody followed him, but eleven religious families were born from his charisma”, observes Msgr. Wisdom retracing the salient stages of the life and witness of faith of Brother Charles, defined as “one of the greatest teachers of prayer and spirituality of all time”. Charles de Foucauld left over ten thousand manuscript pages, meticulously collected in the volume by thematic areas. We cite some excerpts.

The program. “Become their friends, love them and be loved, lead them to virtue, and from virtue and good will to all truth, live to save them.

Here is the program: love, love, goodness, goodness ”.

Welcome, daily bread, friendship. “For the slaves I have a small room in which I gather them and in which they always find lodging, hospitality, daily bread, friendship; little by little I teach them to pray to Jesus. Since January 5, the day their room was finished, I have had it every night here at the Fraternity, thank God … With more virtue on my part, more intelligence and more resources, they could be grouped better! Sometimes, I even see twenty slaves a day. Poor travelers also find in the Fraternity a humble asylum and some food … But the place is tight, the virtue of the monk and his savoir-faire are even more scarce … Now I can receive at least fifteen guests: in a little while, about thirty, because I continue to build. But we should be able to accommodate even more: often 30 to 40 travelers a day captain here. The sick and the abandoned old find here shelter, shelter, food and care. But the care is so insufficient, and the food so scarce… Three or four old people have already asked me to be regular guests of the Fraternity… ”.

The best hour spent. “Jesus alone deserves to be passionately loved. The best spent hour of our life is the one in which we love Jesus the most. Jesus offers himself to be the companion of all hours. Is this not enough for us? Will we leave the Creator to go to the creatures? Yes, Jesus is enough: where He is, nothing is missing. It would be too sweet to hear that we love Jesus, that we are loved by him and that we are happy with his happiness: if we felt this way, the earth would be a paradise ”.

Wanting to love. “Love consists not in feeling that one loves, but in wanting to love;

when you want to love, you love; when you want to love above all things, you love above all things.

Let us often tell ourselves the double story of the graces that God personally gave us after our birth, and of our infidelities; we will find there – especially we who have lived far from God for a long time – the surest and most moving proofs of his love for us, as well as, unfortunately, so many proofs of our misery ”.

The ethics of restitution. “Our soul is full of gratitude, oh my God, and this continuous gratitude overflows throughout our life, all our thoughts, our words, our actions, all the moments of our life are employed in view of you alone: ​​in every circumstance we seek you alone, everything, everything, everything we do must be done in view of you alone, since everything, everything comes to us from you. That we breathe only to love you, that all our thoughts, our words, our actions are inspired by your love, that all the moments of our existence are consecrated to love you as much as possible “.

Faith is abandonment. “If, even for a moment, one begins to search for oneself, one ceases to love. Whoever is not ready to suffer everything and to abandon himself entirely to the will of the Beloved does not know what it means to love ”.

Brotherhood. “Above all, it is necessary to see in every human being a brother, to see in every human being a child of God, a soul that we must love as ourselves and for whose salvation we must work. And we must banish from us the militant spirit of those who, whether non-Christians or bad Christians, see enemies to fight instead of seeing sick brothers who need to be treated, the wounded lying on the street with whom one must be good Samaritans ”.

Charles de Foucauld. Archbishop Sapienza: “Brother of the last” | AgenSIR