Nazareth weekend with Little Brother Marc

6- Charles spent the final years of his life making himself close to the Tuaregs, and this was the path of a friendship that needed to be built up patiently. He learned, little by little, the reciprocity of a true relationship (in particular, when he was cared for by them at a time when he was seriously ill), he worked to understand their culture, he learned to appreciate them:

“I have spent the whole of 1912 here, in this hamlet of Tamanrasset. The Tuaregs have been very consoling company for me here, I cannot express how good they have been for me, and how I have found upright souls among them: one or two of them are true friends, something that is rare and very precious everywhere..”9

I cannot end this little excursion on the reading of Nazareth that Charles de Foucauld made without quoting a text that touches me deeply, written a few months before his death. Charles was looking for a priest to take on the steps that needed to be taken in France to create an association of the faithful, on which he had been working for several years. He wrote:

“I believe that I am less capable that almost all other priests of taking the steps that need to be taken having only learned to pray in solitude, keep silent, live with books and at the most to chat in a familiar way, person to person, with the poor..”10
This text touches me because it related to my experience and, as a Little Brother of Jesus, I wanted to say: see what being with Jesus leads to: it is an apprenticeship of prayer, of listening and of familiar conversation with the poor – three things that need to be learned. And the third of these, in what Charles says here, appears as the one he has learned best... From that apprenticeship, little by little, is born an openness of heart, an ability to be with the other where he is, to understand him from within, and to appreciate him. Charles has entered into the real life of Nazareth, united deep relation with God and deep relation with the people around him.

But isn’t that the same path that Jesus of Nazareth took? That brings us back to “the Nazareth of Jesus”: what reading can we make of it?