“BROTHER CHARLES DE FOUCAULD”
« THE LITTLE GUIDE »
a practical guide to fraternity living and spirituality
PAPAL MESSAGE DURING THE BEATIFICATION OF BROTHER CHARLES DE FOUCAULD
NOVEMBER 13TH 2005
ST. PETER´S BASILICA, ROME
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI:
«Let us give thanks for the testimony of Charles de Foucauld. Through his contemplative and hidden life at Nazareth, having discovered the truth about the humanity of Jesus, he invites us to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation. There he learned much about the Lord whom he wished to follow in humility and poverty. He discovered that Jesus, having come to us to join in our humanity, invites us to universal fraternity which he would later live in the Sahara with a love of which Christ was the example. As a priest, he put the Eucharist and the Gospel, the twin tables of Bread and the Word, the source of Christian life and mission, at the center of his life. »
Extract from Homily of Card. José Saraiva Martins:
«Charles de Foucauld had a renowned influence on spirituality in the XX century and, at the beginning of the Third Millennium, continues to be a fruitful reference and invitation to a style of life radically evangelical not only for those of the different, numerous and diversified groups who make up his Spiritual Family. To receive the Gospel with simplicity, to evangelize without wanting to impose oneself, to witness to Jesus through respect for other religious experiences, to affirm the primacy of charity lived in the fraternity are only some of the most important aspects of a precious heritage which encourages us to act and behave so that our own life may be like that of Blessed Charles in « crying out the Gospel from the rooftop, crying out that we are of Jesus.”
The former International Team (IT) of the Lay Fraternity “Brother Charles de Foucauld” (René Haentjens, Marie Fernando, Christophe Daga, Thérèse and Jean Gernigon, Amand de Cock and Henri Le Masne) saw the need to produce a “Little Guide “ for the Fraternity. First drafts were presented to the International Assembly at Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 2000 where Fraternity delegates enriched the project with their own ideas mandating the new IT to continue the work.
The present IT has added other paragraphs and chapters; and during five years has tried to make it into a trully intercontinental text. All the proposals have been reread in the different Continents and have been edited and corrected, either during IT meetings in Spain (2001), Germany (2003) and Tanzania (2004), or by means of Email.
We believe the “Little Guide” will be useful to all fraternities, but above all to beginners. It will become equally a tool of great value for our sisters and brothers in other branches of the Spiritual Family of Brother Charles, as it will help them to interest lay people in building up new fraternities.
Brother Charles wrote in the annex to his “Directory” :
“This rule contains very few external precepts so that we do not become too concerned with observing this or that rule in order that, freed from this worry, we will have our soul occupied only in loving God. The goal of this rule is to give us a family life that is simple and stripped of all that hinder the spirit of contemplation of God, and to give us a life that will be like that of the most holy Virgen and Saint Joseph in Nazareth”
The “Little Guide” should not therefore be understood as a rule but rather as guidelines that will have to be adapted to your own situations.
The life and message of Brother Charles de Foucauld, the Lay Fraternity and his Spiritual Family are presented in the first chapters (I-III). Then the Mission of the laity in the world and the Church is taken up (chapter IV) before explaining the main characteristics of Fraternity life itself (chapter V). Concrete orientations for practising Fraternity living and spirituality are to be found in chapter VI . Chapter VII is dedicated to presenting important prayers within the Brother Charles tradition with their historical background. Chapter VIII offers some final information and contacts.
This task was completed on the feast of Epiphany 2006. The Magi followed the star which guided them to Bethlehem where they found the Divine Infant. May our eyes also be opened to that star that will guide us to the “Master of the Impossible”, our “Unique Model”. And may this “Little Guide” become a fruitful resource for our following in the steps of our Blessed Brother Charles.
January 6th 2006
International Team, Lay Fraternity “Brother Charles de Foucauld” (Marianne Bonzelet with Charlotte Furaha and Jean Chris Bisimwa Muganguzi, Anoinette and Fidaa Boutros, Fatima and Patricio Rice, Moing-Jun Pak and Josef Freitag)