Sorry, this entry is only available in Brazilian Portuguese.
The priestly fraternity Iesus Caritas of Spain organizes, as every summer, its annual retreat, from Sunday, August 22, at night, until Friday, 27, in the afternoon, in the House of Spirituality “Santa María” (Javerianas ), in Galapagar, Madrid.
Talks, prolonged adoration, silence, life review, a full day in the desert, celebration in fraternity of the Liturgy of the Hours and the Eucharist… Everything to help us grow in our spirituality and share our life.
This year’s themes will be an interior preparation for the next canonization of Brother Carlos. Thus, at 10 a.m. each day, except for Thursday, 26, the desert day, we will have the following talks and animators:
- Jesús CERVERA (telematically, from Algeria): Permanent conversion and the desire to go to those who are furthest away.
- Gabriel LEAL: Dynamic of brother Charles towards the peripheries.
- José VIDAL: The spiritual heritage of Charles de FOUCAULD.
- Aquilino MARTÍNEZ (regional manager): Introduction to the desert
- Mateo CLARES: Charles de FOUCAULD, the universal brother.
At the moment, there are 18 brothers who are going to participate physically.
The retreat may be followed electronically, due to the pandemic situation, communicating with enough time to Aquilino (regional manager) the desire to participate.
Mobile: +34 629 53 03 79.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
We encourage brothers from Spanish-speaking countries and any interested priest anywhere in the world to participate.
“When they were coming down from the mountain, he ordered them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of man rose from the dead.
This stuck with them and they discussed what it meant to rise from the dead ”(Mk 9: 9-10).
The resurrection is not so easy to understand. The disciples of Jesus themselves, the apostles, had not understood what Jesus meant when he spoke to them of “resurrection.” When they come down from Mount Tabor, after the experience of the transfiguration, which is a foretaste of the resurrection.
Perhaps, we are already familiar with the language and we speak of “resurrection” as a theoretical or theological concept that we link to the person of Jesus. But I am not absolutely convinced that we know how to translate it into our everyday life experience. It may happen to us like the apostles of Jesus, that the message often seems somewhat incomprehensible to us.
– When I speak of “resurrection” what do I mean? What images help me understand and interpret this term?
“Do not be afraid. Are you looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the crucified? He is not here. He has risen. Look where they put it. ” (Mk 16.6).
Jesus during his life was identified as the Nazarene, for obvious reasons. He shouldn’t be a place recognized for anything in particular. It is an anonymous city, which does not appear in the Old Testament. Nathanael himself wonders “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (Jn 1.46).
– Why am I recognizable? What do people who know me identify with?
“The other disciples said to him:” We have seen the Lord. ” But he (Thomas) answered them: “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in your hands, if I don’t put my finger in the hole of the nails and don’t put my hand in their side, I don’t believe it” (Jn 20, 25).
After his death, Jesus changes his identity, he is recognized as “the crucified one”. The nail wounds and the spear mark on the side serve to identify the risen with the crucified. It is the same Jesus who walked the roads of Galilee and Judea, the one who touched lepers with his hands, the one who healed the sick and broke bread with his own hands to distribute it to hungry people. Those hands and feet, pierced by the nails at the crucifixion, are the ones that are presented to his disciples in the apparitions as a sign of recognition and identification. The disciple Thomas is the one who asks to see the signs that identify the Risen One with the Jesus that he had known in his public life.
The experience of the resurrection is personal, we can say that subjective, before the same signs one disciple immediately believes and another is perplexed and surprised, it seems that he has not yet taken the step of faith. This is what happens with Peter and John on Easter morning, when they are warned by Mary Magdalene that the tomb is open. Pedro enters first and sees the canvases on the floor and the rolled-up shroud in a separate place. He is amazed at the absence of the body of Jesus. However, John enters behind and, seeing the same as Peter, he immediately believes that Jesus has risen. The
The empty tomb and the bandages that had covered Jesus’ body speak volumes to him.
We each have our own signs, very personal experiences, that have helped us to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. It is true that afterwards we share the faith, with the rest of the believers, but all part of a personal encounter with the Risen One, in signs that speak to us.
– What signs have I discovered in my life, in my personal experience, that have helped me to believe that Jesus is alive, that he has risen conquering death?
As with the Risen One, all believers — including us — have our lives marked by signs of resurrection.
The resurrection is an experience in the present, in the today of our life. We should not think that the resurrection is a guarantee of the future, something that will happen only when our pilgrimage through this world ends. Paul, in the letter to the Colossians, speaks of it as an event that has already been verified in us by faith. If you have been raised with Christ… then our life has to show the signs of the resurrection. We cannot live as men without hope.
1) The first sign of the resurrection, which should mark our life, is joy. It is what characterizes the encounter of the Risen One with his disciples. “And the disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (Jn 20:20). It is not about a punctual joy, which is limited to that moment of the meeting. This joy must be present and manifest in all moments of our life. Every circumstance, even the most painful, can be lived with the joy that is born in this encounter with the Lord.
Brother Charles also lived this joy and tells us about it:
You are resurrected and you ascend to the heavens! So you are in your glory! You do not suffer anymore, you will not suffer anymore, you are happy and you will be so forever … My God, how happy I am, because I love you! It is for your sake that I must take care of myself first of all. How not to rejoice, how satisfied I must be! … My God, you are blessed for eternity, you lack nothing, you are infinitely and eternally happy! I too am happy, my God, because it is You who I love above all. I can tell you that I do not lack anything … That I am in heaven, that whatever happens and what happens to me, I am happy because of your beatitude.
Resolution. — When we are sad, discouraged about ourselves, about others, about things, let us think that Jesus is glorious, seated at the right hand of the Father, blessed forever, and that if we love him as we should, the joy of the infinite Being it must be infinitely above our souls, the sorrows that come from being exhausted and, consequently, before the vision of joy of God, our soul must be jubilant and the pains that drown it disappear like the clouds before the sun; our God is blessed. Let us rejoice without end, for all the evils of creatures are an atom next to the joy of the Creator! There will always be sadness in our life, there must be, because of the love that we carry and we must carry in ourselves all men; also because of the memory of the pains of Jesus and the love we feel for him; because of the desire that we have to have for justice, that is, for the glory of God and the pain that we must experience seeing injustice and God insulted … But these pains, however just they are, should not last in our soul, should not be more than passengers; what should last is our ordinary state; it is what we must return to without ceasing; This is the joy of the glory of God, the joy of seeing that now Jesus does not suffer anymore and will not suffer anymore, but that He is happy forever at the right hand of God.
(Notes from a Retreat in Nazareth from November 5 to 15, 1897)
2) The second sign must be faith. The event of the resurrection and the encounter with the Risen One lead us to believe in God. It is He who has raised Jesus from the dead and raised him from the grave. Faith places us before reality with new eyes, with a deep look. Faith illuminates all reality. All creation, each person, refers us to the Creator. We can find seeds of God’s love wherever we look. God is behind each person and everything.
For Brother Charles, faith makes our life easier:
How happy we are that we believe! How beautiful, tall and pure is the truth! And how human life becomes clear in the light of faith, it becomes simple!
How can you believe, you who receive your glory from one another, and who do not seek the glory that comes only from God? (Jn 5.44). To believe, you have to humble yourself, you have to make yourself small, you have to confess that you have little spirit, admit a number of things that are not understood, obey the Church’s teaching, receive the truth from it, sometimes in a somewhat rude way. , from a sometimes unskillful mouth, submitting the judgment, obeying in spirit … and believing humiliated, because to believe is to believe that one is a sinner, that he can do nothing by himself, that he abuses every day of a thousand graces, to believe is to have in front of yes a divine ideal and to see how far one is, is to see the goodness of God and our ingratitude …
(Meditations on the passages relating to the holy gospels. Nazareth, 1897)
3) The third sign is a transformed life. Paul invites us to aspire to the goods above, not those of the earth. “If you have been raised with Christ, seek the goods from above (…); Aspire to what is above, not what is on earth ”(Col 3,1). We cannot settle or stay only with material things, or think that only they will give us the happiness we crave. We need the material, no doubt, but we have also been created for the spiritual. The encounter with the Risen Jesus changes our life, gives it depth, depth. He asks that our actions be meaningful and express the centrality of that encounter and that presence in us. It is also Paul who says “I live, but it is not I who lives, it is Christ who lives in me. And my life from now on in the flesh, I live it in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me ”(Gal 2:20). We cannot stay in the superficial, we have to go deep inside because there the encounter with God takes place.
Charles de Foucauld refers to his Lord Jesus as the unique Model and tells us:
Let’s follow this unique Model; then we will be sure that we are doing the right thing, because we will no longer be the ones who live, but he who lives in us, and our acts are no longer our poor and miserable human acts, but his, divinely effective.
4) And a last sign that I want to highlight is communion, fraternity. Christ is risen and made us members of his body. That unites us in a permanent, irrevocable way. We do not follow the Lord alone, as individuals, but in community. We celebrate faith with our brothers and sisters and that faith leads us to love everyone, also those who do not believe. The resurrection of Jesus will rejoin the disciples who had dispersed. “After eight days, the disciples were inside again and Thomas with them” (Jn 20:26). It is also a source of communion and unity for us, in our fraternities, for our Church and for our world.
Brother Charles is also a teacher of the fraternity, he had a welcoming lifestyle, especially with the poorest and those furthest from the Lord.
The Fraternity is the house of God in which every poor person, every guest, every sick person is always invited, called, desired, welcomed with joy and gratitude by the brothers who love him, who have a tender affection for him and who consider him his I enter under their roof as the entrance of a treasure: they are, in fact, the treasure of treasures, Jesus himself.
The Fraternity is a port, a recovery in which every human being, especially if he is poor or unhappy, is, at any time, fraternally invited, desired and welcomed.
The Fraternity is the roof of the Good Shepherd.
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR LIFE REVIEW
1. How can I consider the state of joy in my life? At what moments do I experience a growing, greater joy? What realities, events, people make me happy?
2. What elements sustain my faith and give it strength? What realities put my faith in crisis and make it difficult for me to believe?
3. Do I consider my life meaningful? Do I think I reveal the presence of the Risen Lord in me? What elements of my life should change to better express my condition as a disciple of Jesus?
4. Fraternity is one of the fundamental elements of our spirituality:
What can I do this Easter to improve my relationship with the members of my fraternity? How to extend the experience of brotherhood in our presbyteries, in our parish communities, in our Church and in our world?
(Translator’s note: thank you for your understanding and compassion)
“If Christ is not risen, our preaching is vain, your faith is also vain” (1 Cor 15:14)
When I made the decision to be one of those who would offer a few words in this Easter retreat, of this unique Easter in the midst of a pandemic, the first thing that arose in me was a question: what did Charles de Foucauld say about Jesus? risen? Is there any statement of yours, or any comment of yours, about the resurrection of Jesus? Actually, at first he had no answer, he was blank.
But, surely, Charles de Foucauld himself had to bear in mind that forceful affirmation of Paul, with which I wanted to begin this reflection: “If Christ was not risen, our preaching is vain, your faith is also vain.”
It must be remembered, first of all, that CdF is not a theologian. And, therefore, his objective in sharing his writings, letters, comments to the gospel … is not to propose an orderly and structured exposition of the faith. His is not a catechism of the Catholic faith, or a theology book. CdF is recording in writing what he discovers and deepening in his prayer, in his abandonment, and, also, in his incarnate life, close to those who do not know Jesus, and the poorest and most suffering .
On the other hand, at some point it may give the feeling that CdF has only stayed in Nazareth, ignoring the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. But it is not exactly that. He does not cut Jesus, keeping only the first part of his life, and discarding the public life and the finishing touch of him. CdF knows very well the entire public life of Jesus, especially his death and resurrection. Certainly, the redemptive cross of Jesus and the victory of the resurrection had to be part of his prayer and contemplation on many occasions. Without a doubt, he had to include the death of Jesus in this dynamic of descent from God. And the meditation on the resurrection of Jesus was able to confirm in CdF that, indeed, “if the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it bears much fruit.” Although it does not express it in an explicit way and, much less, academic or theological, for CdF there is a unity and coherence between the hidden life of Jesus, and his public life, which culminates in his death and resurrection, and in which we participate in through the Holy Spirit (Pentecost).
“As soon as I understood that there was a God, I understood that I could not do anything other than live only for Him.” This phrase, at the beginning of his conversion and mission, makes us understand that he has discovered the God of the living and of life. She immediately goes to orient her spirituality towards Jesus, and him in Nazareth. Although without neglecting her total trust in God, as is reflected in the prayer of her abandonment. But her main gaze is going to be directed towards Jesus, in Nazareth. That Jesus is alive, he is not an idea or an ideology, or a theology, or a mere “story” (as so much is said now). He is a lively and very present person.
For Brother Charles, one of the strong presences of that living Jesus is the Eucharist: “The Eucharist is Jesus, it is all Jesus! In the holy Eucharist, you are all whole, all living my Well-Beloved Jesus. As fully as you were in the house of the Holy Family of Nazareth … as you were in the midst of your Apostles. ” (174 Meditation on the Gospel). The expression “all living” gives us to understand that, for Brother Charles, the Eucharist prolongs the presence of the risen Jesus. At another moment he affirms, remembering and commenting on the words of Jesus at the Last Supper: “<< This is my body… this is my blood… >> Mt. 26, 26-28. This infinite grace of the Holy Eucharist, how much it must make us love such a good God, a God so close to us… How much the Holy Eucharist must make us tender, good, for all men. ” (Meditation in 1897). He also puts words on the lips of Jesus, about the Eucharist: “Contemplate me lovingly: it is the only thing necessary and it is what I love the most … If you understood the happiness that there is in being at my feet and looking at me …” (Retrait in Nazareth. November 1897). In this other reflection he is even more explicit about the permanent presence of Jesus among us: “God, to save us, has come to us, he has mixed with us in the most familiar and close contact … For the salvation of our souls, he continues to come to us, mingling with us, living with us in the closest contact, every day and every hour in the Holy Eucharist… ”(Regulations and Directory, 1909).
All these quotes on the Eucharist and Eucharistic adoration speak to us of faith of a CdF convinced of the living presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Not only that, but he understands his task, his mission, his presence among Muslims and those in need, from that living presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and in Eucharistic adoration. Without the profound experience of that Eucharistic presence, life is no longer an imitation of Nazareth, as CdF understands it. And on the positive side: contemplating and soaking up well that real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist pushes you, launches you into a personal presence in the world and among people as in Nazareth, in the style of Jesus.
The other strong presence of the risen Jesus, for Brother Charles, is the poor. There are many references to the poor in the writings of Brother Charles. I select some, of which we can intuit their faith in Jesus risen and present: “There is, I believe, no word of the Gospel that has had on my deepest impression, and has transformed my life more, than that:` Everything you do to one of these little ones, you do it to me. If we think that these words are those of the uncreated truth … With what force are we led to seek and love Jesus in these ‘little ones, these sinners, these poor people, putting all our spiritual means at the service of conversion, and all our means materials for the relief of temporary miseries ”. (Letter to Louis Massignon, April 1, 1916).
CdF does not make a theological reflection on the “presence” of the risen Jesus in the poor and the little ones, but it is evident that he has no doubt about the permanence of Jesus alive in them, and that this moves him. On the one hand, he perceives, he sees the risen Jesus in the last. On the other hand, he receives the call to bring that living Jesus closer to everyone, as can be seen from this other statement of his: “To be able to lead a very contemplative life, doing everything to everyone, to give Jesus to everyone” (June 1902, conclusion of the retirement). That is, he wants to see Jesus alive in the poor, and he wants others to see that Jesus alive, through him, through his witness.
I cannot resist recalling one of the best known Gospel texts on the presence of the risen Jesus: the disciples of Emmaus (Lk. 24, 13-34). We know the whole scene very well. I am going to stick only to the final moment, when the two pilgrims invite Jesus to stay with them, and Jesus accepts:
“And he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, when he was at the table with them, he took the bread, pronounced the blessing, broke it and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from her side. They said to each other, “Wasn’t our hearts burning within us when he spoke to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And immediately getting up, they returned to Jerusalem and found the Eleven gathered and those who were with them, saying: “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon! They, for their part, told what had happened on the way and how they had met him in the breaking of bread. (Lk. 24, 29-34)
Interestingly, it is at the end, when Jesus is no longer physically present, that he seems to be most present. And that other presence, more interior, deeper, is what gives the disciples a new impulse. First, to remember all his journey in the key of Jesus (“Didn’t our hearts burn as he spoke to us along the way and explained the scriptures to us?”). Later, to join the other disciples to tell them what happened. Pablo d’Ors says, in an approach to this scene and, specifically, to this moment, that those of Emmaus have the freedom to interpret what has happened to them. And think and confirm what has happened to them. This is faith: not an imposition but a proposition, because it respects our freedom.
In a free reading of the life of CdF, in the light of this gospel of the disciples of Emmaus, we could say that, when CdF was, apparently, “back” from everything, the living God comes out to meet him to tell him to continue standing there in the midst of disappointments and falls. That living God had already made himself present, in some way, in the strong religious experience of the Muslims. The God of the living and of life uses different moments and people to meet us and become a companion on the journey. But it is in that church, in that conversation and confession with Father Huvelín, which was followed by the reception of the Body of Christ, when brother Charles “eyes were opened” and he was able to re-read his life from faith. We cannot stop listening, once again, to his memory of that moment when he was converted, that is to say, when he discovered new eyes: “As soon as I believed that there was a God, I understood that I could do nothing but live for him. My religious vocation dates from the same time as my faith. God is so great! There is so much difference between God and everything that he is not ”. His path, from that moment on, we know him.
The living God that he sees and senses in that initial moment, will shortly guide him and incarnate him in Jesus of Nazareth, and Jesus in Nazareth. We could say that his Emmaus throws him to Nazareth. His experience of his living translates her to everyday life, to the hidden life, to the simple and normal life. And as we have remembered in the first part of this presentation, you are going to keep this Jesus alive in the Eucharist and in the poor very much in mind.
For us too, as for CdF, this Easter can be an occasion to rediscover our “Emmaus in Nazareth”. In other words, the risen Jesus continues to be present in our daily lives and in the simple lives of the people we usually meet. In the simplicity of day to day, and in the simple and poor of each day, we can sense the gentle presence of the risen one. Or we can be ourselves, in our Nazareth, a simple instrument of the risen Jesus to make himself present and bring his new life closer to others.
Possible questions for personal reflection:
1. At what moments in my priestly life, perhaps of disappointment or pastoral disappointment, have I noticed the gentle presence of the risen Jesus?
2. How do I perceive the risen Jesus in everyday life, in my usual Nazareth? How can others perceive it through me?
3. Of all that I know of the life and spirituality of CdF, what stands out to me the most in relation to the risen one?
(Translator’s note: thank you for your understanding and compassion)
Iesus Caritas Priestly Fraternity. Spain.
EASTER RETRAIT 2020
THE LIFE FOR BROTHER CHARLES
A free life
Thursday, April 16
On this second day of Easter retreat we will savor the freedom of the children of God. The Risen Christ gives us freedom; the one who was locked up is now free like the wind. No weight catches you or a bandage prevents you from walking. Brother Charles is only tied to the will of God, the will that he discovers in his searches and his imitation of Jesus: “To believe you have to humble yourself, you have to be small, you have to confess that you have little spirit, admit a quantity of things that are not understood …”. Charles de FOUCAULD, “Spiritual Writings”. In these days of “Easter confinement” we can experience the greatness and smallness of the world where we are. Our communication with the exterior is reduced to greeting us “Japanese style” and the use of electronic devices. We miss the hugs and yet we do not stop feeling the affection of God himself and of the brothers.
It is time to contemplate this entire situation. The empty ostensory of brother Charles can tell us a lot about so many absences, about so many times that we have felt far from God, from people, or from our own inner being. We think that Jesus is not there, because we are looking for him in an empty tomb. The absence of God in so many people makes us sad, and we would like to bring him closer to Jesus, who has not stopped loving them, seeking them, embracing them. Absences that are sometimes filled with something artificial, useless dreams or fantasies. God is a God of the living, said Jesus, and He is a God who gives us freedom, despite our present moment of “standing” or shut up at home. Soon we will be able to say “free the inmate”. Nothing is going to prevent us from hugging and greeting each other again as we always have. At this moment, Jesus does not keep his distance and embraces us when we adore him. His love is stronger than the limitations that we now have to live.
Holy Saturday has been a desert day for me. It is, perhaps, the most appropriate day of the year to live it like this, until the time of the Easter Vigil. A desert that can be a repetition of what is lived every day, but that once again placed me in the immensity of God, of his call, of his invitation to feel free in the moment of Nazareth, which is that of confinement. The desert, which makes us find ourselves empty of everything and expecting everything from the Lord. The Assekrem with the four walls, the garden, the orchard, the street or the field that we see from the window …
How do we identify with this living, free Christ in our mission? “We do not have the obligation to constantly give alms, or advice, or to pray, but we do have to give a good example, all the more since our works are known, although we believe we are completely alone…“, Charles de FOUCAULD, ” Spiritual Writings ”. Our mission, to be together with people in their difficult moments, in the daily life of their lives; also allowing us to invade by his humanity, by his happiness or his sadness, his apparently insignificant things, his shared path and his faith or lack of it, is the mission where Jesus sends us. “Jesus, with his redemptive work, gave us again the freedom, the freedom of the children” (Pope Francis). Christ gives us the freedom to leave everything, to put time aside, the condition of being a consecrated person, the social image we have, to say yes to the person who needs us, to whom we can do good, without “advice of priests ”, without being officials of the liturgy or sacraments. It does not matter the external forms; the important thing is the love that we put.
“Jesus came not only to change the natural course of physical life, but to infuse in it a new meaning with the strength of his Spirit and the power of his word, transmitting to human beings an ever-living hope, inexhaustible source of true joy. The tombstone that Jesus’ disciples must remove is huge and heavy, as the slab of death continues to bury thousands of deaths today in the world coronavirus pandemic and the masses of the poor and marginalized throughout our land.” José CERVANTES GABARRÓN, (priest of the diocese of Cartagena, Spain, in a Lenten homily). Given the diversity of calls that we receive, of the messages that overflow our electronic devices in these weeks, let us respond with Easter joy. Many people need us – simply – to know that we are there, that we are more important to them than a surgical mask. They know that our face and hands do not spread more than the love of Jesus, and we know that his people are also a paschal song of praise, of thanksgiving. So we have to thank people. One by one, with his face and his name, before Jesus in adoration, putting at his side who we do not see, but we do feel.
“The person who loves is open to the sorrows of others and feels impulses towards compassion and help, because he feels unity with the afflicted. It comforts every person you see suffering. He knows that it is one with the original energy in which everything participates. This occurs simply when we open up and come into contact with each other with pity.” Willigis JÄGER, “Where our longing takes us. Mysticism in the 21st century ”, Desclée de Brouwer (Willigis JÂGER celebrated his Easter last March)
Easter gives us back the joy of being saved, the freedom to be happy, the hope of a more positive world, of appreciating the effort and work of many people who leave their skin for others. Let us thank God for this liberating Jesus, small in the little ones, and very great in our hearts.
Good and happy Easter to all.
Iesus Caritas Priestly Fraternity. Spain.
EASTER RETRAIT 2020
THE LIFE FOR BROTHER CHARLES
The life of the last one
Wednesday, April 15
Reviewing the Song of Philippians (Phil 2,6-11), which we have deepened in these days of Holy Week, and prayed with him, we stand with brother Charles in his learning of selflessness, as the disciple who learns from his teacher: “He descended: he descended all his life, descending when he became incarnate, descending when he became a little boy, descending obeying, descending becoming poor, abandoned, exiled, persecuted, executed, always putting himself in last place ”. Charles de FOUCAULD, “Spiritual Writings ”.
The aristocrat becomes a servant, the lord of the castle goes to live in the village, he takes off his title and becomes a brother. How can we understand the last place if we stay in the usual place or even try to climb, climb positions? How many times do we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are already humble?
The imitation of Jesus, as Charles de FOUCAULD’s teaching and constant desire from his conversion, we know that it consists in praying, working, loving, accompanying, forgiving, as Jesus did, and also being happy as he was, showing the Father’s mercy, in every gesture, every word. “Mercy is not manufactured: it is received. The gift of God is not bought, is not sold, does not return the call. Give freely without expecting anything, without anyone losing hope. Risk loving until the end ”. Jacques GAILLOT in “Happy the merciful”, September 10, 2016 at iesuscaritas.org
Surely we are experiencing these days of “living in the hidden”, confined, with nothing on our agendas, with the sails of our ships folded, waiting for a favorable wind, a very special Nazareth style.
The call to be missionaries must be permanently in our hearts; not participating in people’s lives, visiting the sick, receiving friends and people who come to our homes, and so many things that we cannot do during this pandemic, can help us review the meaning of the mission. It is very likely that we miss others, as we miss ourselves in a normal situation. We have become the last by imposition. We must be the last because our Master was made that way, and that’s how we learn it every day.
All of this makes us more aware of the realities of our world. We live in a comfortable Europe that is reeling, a Europe closed in on itself: “The Europe of the peoples is about to be built. It is the meaning of history. Sacrificing men for the sake of the economy, leaving the Third World countries aside, will not become the Europe of the peoples. What will be the future of immigrant communities? It seems to me in the Maastricht Treaty that immigrants pay the duck for a strong Europe that gives a little more height to its walls.”
Jacques GAILLOT, “I take liberty …”, Nueva Utopía
This Europe, which is going to suffer an economic crisis that we do not yet know its scope, which is going to be the humanitarian crisis of so many people – which really is the world of the last, those who have always been last – will learn to be in their instead, to know how to listen better, to apply a policy of looking less at the navel and looking at the world without fear. Something like this can happen in North America … And, as a Church, we could say the same.
From the small, which has always been unimportant to the richest, brother Charles builds a dream. It was something that he did not see realized, as an unattainable utopia – a challenge of the Kingdom – and yet, we are appreciating it, because it helps us in our lives to live simply, to share, to be fraternity, not to look no one above us, not to be submissive to fierce consumption, or as priests, to celebrate the faith of the people, of which we are part, without fuss or complicated rituals, being part of the history of people’s lives because they are important to us. “In solidarity with the poor. This Easter has its own color. Our personal ambiguity appears a little clearer illuminated by the poor. Some who walk with Jesus are disconcerted by the words of denunciation and the demand for their rights and, consequently, they want to silence the voice of the poor and those who show solidarity with them. The oppressed are also afraid of dying in the desert like the Jews, and they ask us for what we have. History, with its setbacks and darkness, leads us to lose sight of the God who seems lost and distant on the mountain, while beside us emergency idols made of shiny gold are made.” Benjamín GONZÁLEZ BUELTA, “Go down to meet God. The life of prayer among the poor ”, Sal Terrae
Easter, this Easter in solitude, in domestic Nazareth, is an opportunity to enjoy again the little things, the good news, the friends or the family that we miss.
Easter places us in the context of the joy of the little ones, the last ones, where Jesus is always present, with his door open to be invited to the table of the poor, or the curtain drawn because there is no door. Let’s not pass by, thinking of better places. The adoration of Jesus is now that humble house where to be with him, with all the poor of the world, before whom we do not need words.
Let us now make a time of adoration. Not to think about what I have written, but to look at Jesus, the one who became the last and was the Beloved of brother Charles.
For our life review::
1 Do I live my life more (time, work, availability, personal resources, potentialities …) for myself than in function of my missionary being, of my dedication to others? Why and in what ways?
2 In the confinement and pandemic that I have lived, what have I learned from my own inner experience and from the experiences, values, pain, life and death from outside?
3 Easter, like all Good News announced to the poor, in what aspects, attitudes or approaches of my life is a conversion, a change, a call? Can I imagine it or am I living it?
Iesus Caritas Priestly Fraternity. Spain.
EASTER RETRAIT 2020
THE LIFE FOR BROTHER CHARLES
Tuesday, 14 April, evening
From this telematic way, this Easter retreat, -meeting between brothers and contemplative moment to celebrate the Risen Jesus- I offer you the reflections and invitation to adoration, Christ, bread and wine, freed from death and from the slab, walker, pilgrim with us in this difficult moment of humanity … Living Christ today invites us to be in these three days in retreat joyous with the human beings who have in their life the hope of a better world. Through him we were saved from the cross. Because of him we are motivated to continue in the work of the Kingdom. “Everything belongs to God … We owe him all the moments of our life. Our being and existing: let’s do everything for God ”. Charles de FOUCAULD, “Spiritual Writings”.
From our brother Carlos, with all the aspects and factors of his life, his intuitions and contradictions, we savor life, as he who savors what is small and simple who is truly poor. He let himself be found on the morning of Resurrection and his joy comes to us, who try to live his charism as men of faith.
Let us make this Easter a space for joy, for dreams – brother Charles dreams – for life, and life taken advantage of every moment, with the hope of those who dream of a new world and the sufferings, their own and those of humanity, they are not an obstacle: “If sadness invites you one day, tell him that you already have a commitment to joy and that you will be faithful to him all your life. Where there is truth, there is also light, but don’t confuse light with flash.” (Pope Francis)
The joy that is not always laughed at, nor the product of personal triumph. The joy of the disciples to see the Lord, along with fears of “what will happen now.” It is the joy of brother Charles who meets every day in Nazareth, in Beni-Abbès or Tamanrasset with people, from whom he learns a language, a way of relating, a listening, as in Morocco he found a faith in the Muslims who transmitted to him the greatness of God. These were not good times, neither politically nor economically for the world; misery and epidemics also plagued many countries, in different ways and with disparate consequences, such as the First World War, the plundering of resources in the Western colonies in Africa, in Asia… What greater pandemic than the selfishness of the powerful ones? Is there a vaccine for that?
I have had to redo everything prepared for these days in the face of the current situation, and, realistically, we cannot leave aside the situation of our world, the one closest to us or the one that does not touch us closely. It is a very special Easter, as I believe that until now we had not lived. In spite of everything, let us live it as the Church and our deep being invites us, just as each one of us is.
Especially for me, on these Easter days, our brothers who have already celebrated their full Easter recently will be in our hearts: Manolo BARRANCO, Mariano PUGA, Michel PINCHON, Margarita GOLDIE, Antonio L BAEZA … so many resurrected brothers and sisters .. .
Let us return in these days to let ourselves be surprised by the Good News of the Risen Jesus, of the one who is alive in the humble, in hospitals, slums, prisons, villages without light or water in so many places in the world; of that Christ who has passed through the cross, but who has not passed from the people; He who, from so many men and women who in these months are working for us, frees us from fear and reaches out to us.
So we put ourselves in the presence of God, without forgetting the presence of pain, hope and happiness. We put ourselves in his hands, as we pray in the Prayer of Abandonment, and we pray it … “My Father, I abandon myself to you …”
With all the love of our hearts, with infinite trust, let us continue believing in life, starting this Easter retreat.
“Wherever I live and life springs up in me, there I will see the Risen One and experience God.” Anselm GRÛN, “Seeking God in everyday life”, Narcea.