A few months ago, we celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the death of Blessed Charles de Foucauld, a priest from France who was murdered in the Algerian desert. Born in 1858, Charles became an orphan at the age of six, and lost his faith at the age of 15, through reading bad books. After spending a few years in the armed forces, he regained his Christian faith and became a Trappist monk, in 1890. He declared: “As soon as I started to believe in God, I understood that I must live only for Him: My religious vocation was born at the same moment as my faith”. His desire to live like Jesus lead him to leave the Abbey to become a hermit in 1897. He lived in Palestine at the time, writing his meditations that would be at the heart of his spirituality (including the Prayer of Abandonment). Ordained a priest in 1901, he decided to move to the Algerian Sahara, amongst the Touareg. This is where he died, murdered at the door of his hermitage, on December 1, 1916. On November 13, 2005, he was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI.
Upon meditating on Jesus’s last prayer, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. (Luke; 23, 46), Charles de Foucauld writes: “It is the last prayer of our Master and our beloved… May it be our prayer, and may it be not only our final prayer, but the prayer of our whole life”:
“Father, I put myself in your hands;
Father I abandon myself to you,
I entrust myself to you.
Father do with me as it pleases you.
Whatever you do with me, I will thank you for it.
Giving thanks for anything, I am ready for anything,
I accept anything, give thanks for anything.
As long as your will, my God, is done in me,
as long as your will is done in all your creatures,
in all your children, in all those your heart loves,
I ask for nothing else, O God.
I put my soul into your hands.
I give it to you, O God, with all the love of my heart,
because I love you, and because my love requires me to give myself.
I put myself unreservedly in your hands.
I put myself in your hands with infinite confidence,
because you are my Father.”