Do you know Charles de Foucauld? He is a vitally important person to get to know.
286. In these pages of reflection on universal fraternity, I felt inspired particularly by Saint Francis of Assisi, but also by others of our brothers and sisters who are not Catholics: Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, Mahatma Gandhi and many more. Yet I would like to conclude by mentioning another person of deep faith who, drawing upon his intense experience of God, made a journey of transformation towards feeling a brother to all. I am speaking of Blessed Charles de Foucauld.
The Holy Father outlines a few important details for this friend, suggesting that we make his prayer to be a brother to all an intention of our own:
287. Blessed Charles directed his ideal of total surrender to God towards an identification with the poor, abandoned in the depths of the African desert. In that setting, he expressed his desire to feel himself a brother to every human being, [Cf. Charles de Foucauld, Méditation sur le Notre Père (23 January 1897)] and asked a friend to “pray to God that I truly be the brother of all”. [Letter to Henry de Castries (29 November 1901)] He wanted to be, in the end, “the universal brother”. [Letter to Madame de Bondy (7 January 1902). Saint Paul VI used these words in praising his commitment: Populorum Progressio (26 March 1967): AAS 59 (1967), 263] Yet only by identifying with the least did he come at last to be the brother of all. May God inspire that dream in each one of us. Amen.
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