Love is All That Counts
You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld
Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of six, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi.
When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883 began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received.
Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest.
Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions.
A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905 he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles' Tuareg poetry was published after his death.
In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: "The love of God, the love for one's neighbor...All religion is found there...How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven."
The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916.
Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005.
The life of Charles de Foucauld was eventually centered on God and was animated by prayer and humble service, which he hoped would draw Muslims to Christ. Those who are inspired by his example, no matter where they live, seek to live their faith humbly yet with deep religious conviction.
In his homily at the beatification Mass, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins noted that Charles chose as his motto, "Iesus Caritas, Jesus Love." In 1916 Charles wrote: "There is, I believe, no word from the Gospel that has a more profound impression on me nor has transformed my life more than this: 'Whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.' If we reflect that these words are those from the uncreated Truth, those from the mouth of He who said, 'This is my body...this is my blood,' what forces drive us to seek and to love Jesus in these 'least ones, these sinners, these poor ones.'"
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Daily Prayer - 2015-12-01
As I begin this prayer, God is present,
There are very few people
I ask how I am within myself today?
The Word of God
Reading 1 Is 11:1-10
On that day,
Responsorial Psalm PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
R. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 10:21-24
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
Some thoughts on today's scripture
How has God's Word moved me?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
1st Week of Advent
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. (Isaiah 11:1)
An old stump lies forgotten in the woods. The great tree it once supported was chopped down generations ago, and whoever cut it down left the stump alone, expecting that it would just die and rot. But that didn't happen. After many, many years, it is showing signs of life. A tiny new shoot is growing on that ancient stump. It is green and vulnerable, barely noticed, but it's there—a quiet miracle if ever there was one.
Though its strong branches may one day provide shade and shelter, today it's just a twig. Cartloads of fruit may come from it later, but for now, a single gentle bud blossoms.
This is the picture that the prophet Isaiah paints as he describes a future king of Israel, who will bring righteousness and justice back to God's people. For Isaiah, that king was likely Hezekiah, the infant son of the current king, Ahab. This child would become a "greater David" springing from the same root, establishing peace and justice.
By invoking the image of a once majestic tree beginning to regain, and eventually surpass, its former glory, Isaiah tells the people that God has not abandoned them. The "stump" of their nation has not been left to rot! An age of renewal and redemption is coming, even though it begins as inconspicuously as a twig sprouting deep in a forest.
This is how God wants us to look at the birth of his Son. He wants us to see that this little child, who looks so weak and helpless, is the One destined to change the world. It must have been hard for most people to see the child Jesus in this way, but some did. Mary and Joseph, as well as Simeon and Anna and maybe a handful of others, saw it. And what these few people saw changed their lives. Simeon was filled with peace because his eyes had finally seen God's salvation. Anna was so excited that she couldn't stop talking about him.
So what do you see when you look at the baby in the manger?
"Lord, open my eyes so that I can see who you are."
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
What You See
It is a tremendous prophecy that occurs hundreds of years before Christ (BC), and it is fulfilled when our Lord Jesus, our savior appears. Always read the Old Testament thinking about Jesus, because He fulfills every last word! Now, is He fulfilling your life? Today we read "...A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him". Check this out: Jesse was the son of Obed and the grandson of Ruth and of Boaz. He lived in Bethlehem, in Judah, and was of the Tribe of Judah, he was a farmer, breeder and owner of sheep. He was a prominent resident of the town of Bethlehem. What's cool about all this? PSHH! LOTS OF STUFF! Imagine the chosen pillars, people, leaders of God, like tall oak trees in the forrest and leaving a legacy of faith! Imagine from one of those came a tremendous King, and this king was a shepherd like his father (Jesse). And they were from Bethlehem, were Jesus was born, and Bethlehem means "house of bread". All these pillars and Jesus stems from the one from Bethlehem, and it is important because Jesus is the "son of David" in His geneology, tracing His Kingship all the way back to then...to now! I keep recalling my friend that died "Jesse", what you should know is that "Jesse" is a nickname for JESUS. So Jesus comes from Jesse, it was all in the works, hundreds and thousands of years in the making. The farmer and breeder of sheep, brings about a King that fulfills when it is said "...Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb..." which means the lamb was the host, and today, the Host Is Jesus. Can you get this? Jesus wants you to be in you what He is to the world...the Host of peace, the Host of life, the Host of salvation; the Blessed Sacrament is the Host! It is amazing!
"Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more." His days are now and forever. What He said goes. Because by a mere word wickedness would perish and leave to where He commanded, thus fulfilling more prophecies "He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked." How can we be so powerful ourselves? By being the most meek and humble, by being available to Him all the time, by fearing the Lord "a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD." and so we must invoke the Holy Spirit in our lives. I do it before writing to you, I invoke the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit arrives promptly, faster than 911, faster than you can think, faster than you even dare to care, and this is because the stump of Jesse is the one that would be annointed by God our Father in HEaven as He arose from the waters and when He was transfigured and God rang from Heaven with His Glorious voice, "this is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased". The annointing of the Messiah had been granted and is granted unto you. What a glorious day when a sinner turns saint!
Our Lord says at one point today "...you have revealed them to the childlike." In my walk of faith, I have only been touched by those with this faith. I am not touched to the heart with those that seem so smart, or shrewd, like the great scientists or politicians, no, my life is touched by the ones with faith of a child. The truth is simple and evident and logical as illogical as it may seem. G.K. Chesterton said ""You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it." It is then a step in faith to see the truth, and we are heading in the right direction with this first step. So you want to get to know God the Almighty? Then get to know the Son. Know Him in HOly Scripture, from the old to the new testament. Get to know Him in the Holy Mass. Get to know Him in the poor and in the childlike of faith, not immature but evident and so strong in belief that there is no doubt, for a doubt is all the devil holds on to as we hold on to hope. ""Blessed are the eyes that see what you see." said our Blessed Lord to His disciples as they looked at Him. So I turn to the Host in the Holy Mass. He is elevated 3 times, three times for your eyes to see. What do you see? No change? That's fine! Because it's not about "what" we see, but "WHO" we see elevated. Jesus offers Himself to be raised up in our lives as a shining light. I ask you this, look at the consecrated Host as it is raised in Holy Mass, and let that look reflect back into your soul what you have seen in your life, the despised, the forgotten, the lonely, just look! For it is raised right before your eyes! For God does not look at appearances but the heart "Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted." Hold on to that thought too, for it should be carried with you always, the thought of what the truth has raised up in your life. Suddenly, that lamb, that host is asking for so much more than we care to give. Will you host a hungry, ravenous wolf into your life? Yes, once you know you are stronger and have nothing to fear, once you know the wolf is coming in disguise putting up a front to be converted. This is living life in grace and fully in love with Christ, whom brings us to the Father...forever!
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