Brother Charles of Jesus was born into a rich French family and spent his youth as a playboy, soldier and explorer. All this came to an end when he was dramatically converted to Christ and became a monk in the Trappist order. He was seeking a thoroughly ascetic life, and even the Trappist rule was not demanding enough for him. So he lived out his vocation in poverty as a hermit in the Sahara Desert among its tribespeople. Finally he joined the priesthood. Inspired by his life and example, the Communities of the Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus sprang up after his death, which came by the hands of fanatical Muslim bandits after he was betrayed by his own servant.
His great theme was abandonment to the love of Christ. Nothing else mattered to him, and he was never completely satisfied with the state of his own soul. His heart’s true desire was to give all his love to Christ and to suffer for that love, offering his tears on behalf of those who needed his prayers. Often he would stay awake through the night simply to share the presence of God with him. Like the Celtic saints of old he sought to offer all the activities of each day to God in prayer, or simply by focussing his thoughts on God, the all-wise Father who loved him dearly and gave him only what was good for him.
Our prayer today is his Prayer of Abandonment to God (Celtic Daily Prayer Meditations Day 4):
Father, I abandon myself into Your hands.
Do with me what You will; whatever You do, I will thank You.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only Your will be done in me, as in all Your creatures,
and I’ll ask nothing else, my Lord.
Into Your hands I commend my spirit;
I give it to You with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands with a trust beyond measure,
because You are my Father. Amen.