Blessed Charles de Foucauld and the Prayer of Abandonment
Only in God
“The Lord your God is the one to whom you must do homage, him alone you must serve. “ Matthew 4:10
Jesus’ primary concern was to live in his Father’s presence, to be obedient to his Father. It was only then that it became clear to him what his task was in his relationships with others. This was also the way he proposed for his apostles. He said, “It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and then you will be my disciples” (John 15:8). The glory of the Father was Jesus’ first concern. We must remind ourselves that the First Commandment requires us to love God. This is with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind is above everything else.
Do we believe this? It seems that we live to give our heart, soul, and mind to our fellow human beings while trying hard not to forget God. At least our attention should be divided evenly between God and our neighbor.
Jesus’ claim is much more radical. He asks for a single-minded commitment to God and God alone. God wants all our heart, all our mind, and all our soul. This unconditional and unreserved love for God leads to the care for neighbor. It is not an activity that distracts us from God. It does not compete with our attention to God. It is an expression of our love for God who reveals himself to us as the God of all people. It is in God that we find our neighbors and discover our responsibility to them. We might even say that only in God does our neighbor become a neighbor. Care for neighbor does not become an infringement upon our autonomy. Only in and through God does service become possible.
True joy comes from letting God love me the way God wants. This can be through illness or health, failure or success, poverty or wealth, rejection, or praise.
It is hard to say, “I shall gratefully accept everything, Lord, that pleases you. Let your will be done.” But when one believes the Father is pure love, it becomes possible to say these words from the heart.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld’s writings and meditations led him to write a prayer of abandonment. This prayer expresses the spiritual attitude required. It is good to pray this prayer often. Yet, this prayer cannot come true by one’s efforts alone. The grace of Jesus can help us pray it and allow it to grow to its fulfillment. If you’re not familiar with Blessed Charles’s story, go to Biography of Charles de Foucauld for the details.
On 27 May 2020, the Vatican announced that he would be canonized. Later, on 9 November 2021, it was announced that Pope Francis would declare the late Trappist a saint on 15 May 2022.
PRAYER OF ABANDONMENT
I abandon myself into Your hands,
Do with me what you will
Whatever you may do,
I thank you.
I am ready for all,
I accept all.
Let only Your Will be done in me,
and in all your creatures,
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul
I offer it to you,
With all the love of my heart,
For I love you,
And so need to give myself,
To surrender myself into your hands
And with boundless confidence,
For You are my Father.
Resource: Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings. Henri J. M. Nouwen.
Blessings and Peace to you as we journey together in Encountering Christ in Word, Liturgy, Charity, and Community. From a Saint Monica Sojourner