Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Wishing all of you a happy new year 2022! Let us be open to all the graces from God that this new Year holds with open hearts! This month, on January 21, we will be celebrating Bishop Olmsted’s birthday! May I ask all of you to please pray for him and his intentions? He would appreciate all your prayers.
Thanks be to God’s Divine Providence, on Saturday, January 8, there was a spectacular Christmas Dinner which was a special gathering of the Religious Sisters with Bishops Olmsted and Nevares. All had a wonderful time. The evening of Vespers, prayer and the meal was quite blessed. Thank you to Sr. Esther Pilar and Pam Lambros for all that you did to make this Christmas Dinner such a blessed event! Here are the beautiful photos I received from them:
Book of the Month: Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr. Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J.
As we continue to endure the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, I want to share with you the gift of the practice of self-abandonment. As I attempt to practice self-abandonment, I realize how much courage, patience and trust it takes, more than I have by nature. God is teaching me with great patience. He is giving me the grace to be obedient, compassionate, charitable and more dependent upon Him. Currently, I am reading Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.’s classic work, Abandonment to Divine Providence. I recommend this great spiritual work for consolation and inspiration to be disposed to do God’s will. Here is an excerpt from Chapter One, “On the Nature and Excellence of the State of Abandonment”:
“There is a time when the soul lives in God, and a time when God lives in the soul. What is appropriate to one state is inconsistent with the other. When God lives in the soul it ought to abandon itself entirely to his providence. When the soul lives in God it is obliged to procure for itself carefully and very regularly, every means it can devise by which to arrive at the divine union. The whole procedure is marked out: the readings, the examinations, the resolutions. The guide is always at hand and everything is by rule, even the hours for conversation. When God lives in the soul it has nothing left of self, but only that which the spirit which actuates it imparts to it at each moment. Nothing is provided for the future, no road is marked out, but it is like a child which can be led wherever one pleases, and has only feeling to distinguish what is presented to it” (de Caussade, 67).
Blessed (soon to be Saint) Charles de Foucauld will be canonized on May 15, 2022.
Who is Blessed Charles de Foucauld?
CHARLES DE FOUCAULD (Brother Charles of Jesus) was born in Strasbourg, France on September 15th, 1858. Orphaned at the age of six, he and his sister Marie were raised by their grandfather in whose footsteps he followed by taking up a military career.
He lost his faith as an adolescent. His taste for easy living was well known to all and yet he showed that he could be strong willed and constant in difficult situations. He undertook a risky exploration of Morocco (1883-1884). Seeing the way Muslims expressed their faith questioned him and he began repeating, “My God, if you exist, let me come to know you.”
On his return to France, the warm, respectful welcome he received from his deeply Christian family made him continue his search. Under the guidance of Fr. Huvelin he rediscovered God in October 1886.He was then 28 years old. “As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone.”
A pilgrimage to the Holy Land revealed his vocation to him: to follow Jesus in his life at Nazareth.He spent 7 years as a Trappist, first in France and then at Akbès in Syria. Later he began to lead a life of prayer and adoration, alone, near a convent of Poor Clares in Nazareth.
Ordained a priest at 43 (1901) he left for the Sahara, living at first in Beni Abbès and later at Tamanrasset among the Tuaregs of the Hoggar. He wanted to be among those who were, “the furthest removed, the most abandoned.” He wanted all who drew close to him to find in him a brother, “a universal brother.” In a great respect for the culture and faith of those among whom he lived, his desire was to “shout the Gospel with his life”. “I would like to be sufficiently good that people would say, “If such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”
On the evening of December 1st 1916, he was killed by a band of marauders who had encircled his house.
He had always dreamed of sharing his vocation with others: after having written several rules for religious life, he came to the conclusion that this “life of Nazareth” could be led by all. Today the “spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld” encompasses several associations of the faithful, religious communities and secular institutes for both lay people and priests.
Bl. Charles de Foucauld’s Prayer of Abandonment is one that gives much strength. With gratitude for each of you, I share this prayer:
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer 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 without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
May this prayer give you peace of heart and mind as you surrender to God’s Providence in your lives.
Your Sister in Christ,
Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM
Director of the Office of Consecrated Life of Phoenix