Christmas Mass Times 2023

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St. Charles de Foucauld


St. Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) was orphaned at the age of six and raised lovingly by his grandparents in the Faith.  By late teens had given up on God and the Catholic Faith.  His twenties were years of dissolute living in and out of the military.  By the age of 30 he had had his reversion back to the Faith with such strength that he joined the Trappist monks.  He was to become a hermit in Algeria near a Tuareg town, learning their language and writing a four volume dictionary manuscript.  He was murdered in 1916 by Bedouin raiders.  No less than twenty religious and apostolic institutes have been inspired by him.  He wrote the following prayer:

Lord, you forbid me to despair.  However ungrateful or lukewarm or cowardly I may be; however much I may misuse your graces, O God, you make it my duty to hope to live eternally at your feet in love and holiness.

You forbid me ever to be discouraged by my shortcomings, or say to myself, ‘I can go no further.  The road is too bad.  I must go back – right to the bottom.’

Your forbid me to say to myself at the prospect of the sins I renew daily, the sins I ask you daily to forgive and continually fall back into: ‘I can never correct myself; holiness is not for me; heaven and I have nothing in common and I am too unworthy to go there.’

Even when I think of the infinite graces you have heaped on me and the unworthiness of my present life, your forbid me to say to myself, ‘I  have gone too far in misusing my graces; I ought to be a saint, but I am a sinner; I cannot correct myself, it is too difficult; I am nothing but wretchedness and pride, after everything God has done, there is still no good in me; I shall never go to heaven.’

In spite of everything, you want me to hope, to hope always that I shall receive enough grace to be converted and attain glory.  What is there in common between heaven and me – between its perfection and my wretchedness?  There your heart, O Lord Jesus.  It forms a link between these two so dissimilar things.  There is the love of the Father who so loved the world he gave his only son.  I must always hope, because you have commanded me to, and because I must always believe both in your love, the love you have so firmly promised, and in your power.

God Bless,