Every feast and fast of the Church’s life is intended to be embraced by the faithful with the intention of co-operating with the Holy Spirit in the integration of the theme or reasonable consequence of the them in their everyday life. Yesterday, in the Western Church, was the feast of “Christ the King.” How would the Holy Spirit desire to integrate the authentic Kingship/Lordship of Christ Jesus in your life? Where, according to the revelation of the Holy Spirit, is Christ Jesus not reigning completely? How might He?
Blessed Charles de Foucauld, a trappist monk of the 20th century confronted and co-operated with the Holy Spirit in answering just that question. The result was extraordinarily life changing. A biographical sketch of his life can be read here.
Perhaps it would be fruitful for us to reflect on his life and reflection on the gospel reading for the feast in order to more deeply listen for the voice and instruction of the Holy Spirit regarding how Christ Jesus can effectively reign in our life. Here, then, is the reflection of Bless Charles de Foucauld. Speak Lord, for your servants listen with a readiness for your word, ready to obey in humble gratitude.
Gospel reading – Matthew 25.31-46
“To be as Christ is in the lives of others”
O my Lord Jesus, how quickly will a person become poor who, loving you with all his heart, is unable to bear being more wealthy than his Beloved. How speedily will he become poor who, reflecting that all that is done to one of these little ones is done to you and that all that is not done to them is not done to you (Mt 25.40,45), brings comfort to all the neediness within his power. How quickly will he become poor who receives your words in faith: ‘If you would be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poor. Blessed are the poor. Everyone who has given up his possessions for my sake will receive a hundred times more and in heaven, eternal life’ (Mt 19.21,29; 5.3) and so much more.
O my God, I cannot believe some souls are able to see you poor and yet choose to remain rich, to see themselves as so much greater than their lord, their Beloved, and not want to be like you in everything insofar as it depends on them, especially in your humiliations… In my view, anyway, I cannot think of love without a pressing need for conformity, for likeness and, above all, for sharing all the pains and difficulties, all the hardships of life. To be rich, at ease, living comfortably off my possessions when you were poor, afflicted and living painfully off a hard labor – no, I cannot, my God; I cannot love like that.
It isn’t right that ‘the slave should be greater than his master’ (Jn 13.16), nor that the bride should be rich when the Bridegroom is poor… As for me, it seems impossible to me to comprehend love without a seeking for likeness…, without a need to share in every cross. Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), hermit and missionary in the Sahara, excerpt from a retreat made at Nazareth, 1897