Charles de Foucauld and the poor

The Lord is an everlasting Rock.
He brought down those who dwell on high,
he laid low the lofty city…
Now it is trampled;
the poor and the lowly tread on it.
Isaiah 26: 4-6

On December 1, 1916, blessed Charles de Foucauld, priest, solitary, was killed by Tuareg rebels in Tamanrasset, in the Sahara, in what is now Algeria.

Charles de Foucauld tried to follow the example of Jesus in Nazareth, a simple worker, living and working among the poor, as a poor man. He had hoped to gather others to follow him in this contemplative life among the poor, especially the poor Muslims of north Africa. But he had no immediate followers.

In the 1930s both the Little Brothers of Jesus and the Little Sisters of Jesus were founded and they and other similar communities live and work among the poorest throughout the world.

During Advent the readings often speak of the poor, the chosen ones of the Lord, who will show us the path to life, to Light.

On June 17, 1916, Charles de Foucauld wrote of the poor in his Spiritual Autobiography:

“The first worshippers, the first company it pleased our Lord to have at his manger, were the most humble, unsophisticated, unimportant and simple people — shepherds.
“He did not merely accept them: he called them, having them called by pure spirits, the angels…
“We should have infinite regard for the most unimportant, humble and unsophisticated people, our brothers [and sisters], honoring them as Jesus’ intimates, realizing that they deserve to be, for they are generally the simplest and purest people, least wrapped in pride. We should mix with them and so far as God wills, be one of them. We should do all possible for their bodies and souls, treating them with honor for the honor of Jesus, and fraternally, so as to have the honor and good fortune of being reckoned one of them. Unhappy is he whose insensate pride despises them whom God puts in the first ranks — ‘as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.’”

This Advent let us become a people who love the poor and a people whom the poor know.

2 responses to “Charles de Foucauld and the poor

  1. Pingback: My cloud of witnesses | walk the way


    The Lay Fraternities of Charles de Foucauld in the US

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