Catechesis. The passion for evangelization: the apostolic zeal of the believer. 23. Saint Charles de Foucauld, the beating heart of charity in the hidden life
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Let us continue in our encounter with some Christian witnesses rich in zeal for proclaiming the Gospel. Apostolic zeal, the zeal for proclamation: and we are looking at some Christians who have been an example of this apostolic zeal. Today I would like to talk to you about a man who made Jesus and his poorest brothers the passion of his life. I refer to Saint Charles de Foucauld, who “drawing upon his intense experience of God, made a journey of transformation towards feeling a brother to all” (Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti, 286).
And what is the “secret” of Charles de Foucauld, of his life? After living a youth far from God, without believing in anything other than the disordered pursuit of pleasure, he confides this to a non-believing friend, to whom, after having converted by accepting the grace of God’s forgiveness in Confession, he reveals the reason for his life. He writes: “I have lost my heart to Jesus of Nazareth”.  Brother Charles thus reminds us that the first step in evangelizing is to have Jesus inside one’s heart; it is to “fall head over heels” for him. If this does not happen, we can hardly show it with our lives. Instead, we risk talking about ourselves, the group to which we belong, a morality or, even worse, a set of rules, but not about Jesus, his love, his mercy. I see this in some new movements that are emerging: they talk about their vision of humanity, they talk about their spirituality and they feel theirs is a new path… But why do you not talk about Jesus? They talk about many things, about organization, about spiritual journeys, but they do not know how to talk about Jesus. I think that today it would be good for each one of us to ask him- or herself: “Do I have Jesus at the centre of my heart? Have I ‘lost my head’ a bit for Jesus?”.
Read the full document in PDF: General Audience of 18 October 2023 – Catechesis. eng