Nazareth weekend with Little Brother Marc

Charles de Foucauld: from separation to proximity

“I lost my heart to this Jesus of Nazareth, crucified 1900 years ago, and I am spending my life trying to imitate him as much as my weakness allows.”1
It is a beautiful definition of his life that Charles gives here. His story after his conversion was, in fact, before all else, the story of “a heart given and lost”, the story of a real and strong friendship with Someone living and close, whose face fascinated him: Jesus of Nazareth. And it was within the dynamic of Jesus that he wanted to place himself: (“I seek to imitate him”). But this was a search that took time, going step by step, discovering little by little. At every step, Charles tries to interpret what “the Nazareth of Jesus” is like.

1- Soon after his conversion, while he was seeking how to give his life to God, he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and, while visiting Nazareth, walking through the streets, he "glimpsed", as he said, what the life of Jesus was like: the life of a simple inhabitant of this town, one of the anonymous people whom Charles saw in the streets. This fascinated him: it was this life, with no relief, that the Son of God chose! And as he looked at them with his view as a Westerner, son of a rich family, their life seemed to him one of extreme poverty and “abjection” as he called it.

He had also in his mind the image that people had at that time of the life of the Holy Family of Nazareth: a life of perpetual silence, of constant prayer, almost one of having one’s hands together all day long! In order to find these conditions of silence, recollection and poverty, in an intimacy with Jesus, he chose, logically, the monastic life.

“The Gospel showed me that ‘the first commandment is to love God with all your heart’ and that everything should be enclosed in love. Everyone knows that love’s first effect is imitation; I had therefore to enter the Religious Order where I would find the most accurate imitation of Jesus. I did not feel done to imitate His life in public preaching: I had then to imitate the hidden life of the poor and humble worker of Nazareth. It seemed to me that no Order could offer a better way to that imitation than a Trappist monastery.”2
He entered on the 16th of January 1890.