Charles de Foucauld's prayer of abandonment


This text is taken from "Omnis Terra" magazine and was written by Brother Vincent Corpet. 
I came across this beautiful prayer as a teenager.

It may seem strange, but Brother Charles of Jesus' "Prayer of Abandonment" not only did not originate from him initially, but it was not even written by him. Others gathered up words and sentiments from his writings and summarised his thinking in order to give us the final edition of the Prayer. So it is the fruit of his journey of spiritual life of identifying with his Beloved Jesus to the point that he identified himself with Jesus' total gift to the Father. 

In this prayer, there is something surprising. Brother Charles' motto was "Jesus Caritas, Jesus Love" and when he meditated or prayed, he usually spoke to Jesus. In this meditation, however, he does not say "my beloved Jesus" but "my Father". He speaks to the Father, not to Jesus!

So is Jesus absent from this prayer? No! He is very present, even more present that he was when Brother Charles spoke to him. He is not present as the one to whom Brother Charles speaks. Who is it that says, "I abandon myself into your hands... Into your hands I commend my soul..."? Who is this "I"? It is Brother Charles, it is every one of us, but first of all it is Jesus on the Cross, the Risen Jesus at the right hand of the Father who offers himself eternally to the Father.

Brother Charles does not speak to Jesus but united to Jesus and forming one thing with Him, he speaks to the Father.

This can help us to recite this prayer better. In fact, this prayer is frightening when we think about it. Can I say in all sincerity, "whatever you may do, I thank you"? Me, the one who complains often about the situation I find myself in and about the people I live with in the family, at work or in the community.

Can I say with sincerity, "I am ready for all, I accept all" when I am afraid and feel like running away to avoid life's difficulties? This is a prayer that cannot be said all alone. We do not know how to pray. We can only say this prayer if we are united to Jesus; only in Him we can say this prayer.
It is a very comforting prayer. When we are worried, when we see only doom and gloom and have to face difficulties that seem insurmountable, let's try to say the prayer slowly: "Father, I abandon myself into your hands...". We will find peace and the courage to face the difficult situation, to carry our cross where we are because we are united to Jesus. 
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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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