Pope Francis on Blessed Charles and the Mystery of Nazareth

francis-charles

It’s a bit old (since when is this blog “up to date”?), but here are some comments from Pope Francis which highlight Blessed Charles de Foucauld and “Nazareth” spirituality:

Charles de Foucauld, perhaps like few others, grasped the import of the spirituality which radiates from Nazareth. This great explorer hastily abandoned his military career, attracted by the mystery of the Holy Family, the mystery of Jesus’ daily relationship with his parents and neighbours, his quiet labour, his humble prayer. Contemplating the Family of Nazareth, Brother Charles realized how empty the desire for wealth and power really is. Through his apostolate of charity, he became everything to everyone. Attracted by the life of a hermit, he came to understand that we do not grow in the love of God by avoiding the entanglement of human relations. For in loving others, we learn to love God, in stooping down to help our neighbour, we are lifted up to God. Through his fraternal closeness and his solidarity with the poor and the abandoned, he came to understand that it is they who evangelize us, they who help us to grow in humanity.

Normally, I myself think of this in reference to my actual situation: living among people who know not or understand not the Gospel, going about my daily life in a way that is (here in Thailand) perhaps not fathomed or not experienced.

But that is not the only application or horizon in question. The pope continues to apply this to family situations:

To understand the family today, we too need to enter – like Charles de Foucauld – into the mystery of the family of Nazareth, into its quiet daily life, not unlike that of most families, with their problems and their simple joys, a life marked by serene patience amid adversity, respect for others, a humility which is freeing and which flowers in service, a life of fraternity rooted in the sense that we are all members of one body.

The family is a place where evangelical holiness is lived out in the most ordinary conditions. There we are formed by the memory of past generations and we put down roots which enable us to go far. The family is a place of discernment, where we learn to recognize God’s plan for our lives and to embrace it with trust. It is a place of gratuitousness, of discreet fraternal presence and solidarity, a place where we learn to step out of ourselves and accept others, to forgive and to feel forgiven.

Mercy, Nazareth, family – so many deep themes, so little time to know and live them.

The Easy Way, the Little Way

Brother Charles[God] didn’t attach salvation to knowledge or intelligence or wealth, nor to long experience or rare gifts that are not given to all. He attached it to something within the reach of everyone, absolutely everyone. Jesus attaches salvation to humility, to the act of making yourself little. That is all it takes to win heaven.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld  (1858–1916)