18. A life with Jesus at the centre


He wants your community to be Jesus’ house, the home of the Good Shepherd, where poor people, the unfortunate, the sick and the homeless are welcomed as brothers, as “persons in whom Jesus lives.”

When he speaks to you of zeal, he will ask you to spend yourself without counting: you must be followers of Jesus, your one and only Model, and go looking as he did for the lost sheep. Your great joy will be to give everything to serve him and to serve his brothers and, if he should will it, to die for his name.

He will tell you to have unshakeable faith in Jesus, who is the all-powerful Master of the Impossible, to have unshakeable faith that Jesus will triumph through his Love and his Presence. Brother Charles will remind you that Jesus laid down his life for all people and that he gave his life  for  his brothers and sisters of Islam and for the whole world.
When he speaks to you of spiritual joy, he will tell you to build your joy essentially on the Glory and the eternal Beatitude of Jesus.

He is in bliss.  We love him.  What more could we ask for? (Br Charles of Jesus, Meditation on Ps 20)

When he speaks to you of love, he will want you to share in Jesus’ love. He will ask you to love him alone, to be the place of his rest and the garden of his delight, as says the Song of Songs, to have one desire: to think only of him, to live only for him, to work and suffer with him.

When he speaks to you of immolation, he will want you to give your life in sacrifice in deep union with Jesus. He will ask you to desire, in total submission to the Will of God, the highest of graces, martyrdom, so that like Jesus you may give the greatest proof of love. More than all else, he will ask you to die to yourself in sacrifice day after day, hour after hour, as you carry out the duties of your everyday life, which is the hidden immolation everyone can attain.

There was one word that he repeated constantly and which is continually found in his writings, for there was one being who had taken possession of his whole soul and who became his all-consuming passion: Jesus,  Jesus-Caritas, Jesus-Love.

This is the greatest secret of his holiness and the reason why the work of his life has borne so much fruit.  This is what drew people to him and made them recognize him as a man of God.  To understand Brother Charles of Jesus totally, you need to forget him and through him see only Jesus.

Brother Charles’ rule is essentially the Gospel, the Sermon on the Mount.

He understood that if Jesus took flesh and came to live among his people, if he left us all his teachings in the Gospel, it was to become our one and only Model, the living personification of what he was teaching.  Brother Charles understood that the way for him to become perfect was simply to see how Jesus had lived, then to imitate and follow him:  “our love can be measured by how closely we imitate the one we love”.

And he understood that nothing lasting can be built without Jesus, and that he would lose his way unless he followed Jesus.

Your rule: to follow me and to do what I would do.  Ask yourself in everything, “What would our Lord do?” and do it.  This is your only but absolute rule. (Brother Charles of Jesus, Spiritual Writings)