God’s fool

More Blessed Charles de Foucauld. I love this man. I imagine Our Holy Mother smiling upon his deeds, wondering daily what in the world will he be up to today, and what will he get himself into.

The bizarre plans he would hatch the following year: he would buy the Mount of Beatitudes for the Franciscans and build there a sanctuary in which he and possibly one other priest would spend their lives and worship. ‘There on the mountain’, he explained, ‘lonely, isolated, among hostile Arabs I shall need every instant a firm faith; here at the monastery, at Nazareth, on the contrary, I lack nothing. Therefore it is there that my faith will get more exercise…Here, face to face with myself, I am superior to my condition; there as a priest, ignorant and incapable, I shall be profoundly below it.’ The idea that the Mount of Beatitudes might be bought and sold like any other piece of property may seem extraordinary today. But there it was, on the market like any other piece of land, and it was being offered at 13,000 francs. Foucauld immediately wrote to his family for the money. His plan had flaws even if he bought the land and built the sanctuary, the Franciscans could not afford to maintain it; nor could they guarantee to supply him with a spare priest; and there was no certainty that the site he wanted to buy was indeed the Mount of Beatitudes. Foucauld was undeterred. ‘Offering myself in a strange habit, asking to live a particular kind of life, to establish a tabernacle in a holy place whose authenticity is doubtful, I shall be, from the first day, the object of every mockery, rebuff and contradiction. Alone in a desert, with a native Christian, who will be absolutely essential, in the midst of savage and hostile populations, I shall find more opportunity to exercise my courage. As an afterthought, he mentioned that Mount might be a good place to start his new order.

‘I am horrified by your projects.’ Huvelin (Foucauld’s spiritual director) replied. –Fergus Fleming ‘The Sword and the Cross: Two Men and an Empire of Sand’

Words of Foucauld describing how he desired others to witness him as a contemplative: “If such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”



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