We are embarking onto a new venture to love Jesus in the footsteps of Bl. Charles de Foucauld.
Charles wrote more than 2,000 letters in his lifetime. Most of these were written during his 16 years in the desert of Algeria. Not only did he correspond with his family and friends, but he regularly received letters and newspapers. Deep in the Algerian desert, he remained aware of other’s lives and the world around him. Thankfully, many of those letters were stored. They have become a crucial treasure revealing his passionate and total love for his neighbor and for “Jesus, my beloved brother and Lord.”
This blog is inspired by de Foucauld’s spirit of correspondence, by the longing to share with others our experience of seeking to “live Nazareth” in our own places and time. It will be letters from personal deserts; not necessarily deserts of smooth Saharan silt, but more so urban deserts of heather cement, bumper-to-bumper traffic, strangers passing shoulder-to-shoulder on sidewalks, and a tumult only deafened by plugged ears of harmonious singing. The desert in the city has become, for much of the world, a new place of struggle to love Jesus and cry the Gospel with one’s life. Though the desert noise competes to distract the heart and mind from noticing God’s presence in the midst of everything, it is not impossible. I am reminded of the city cafe, which is often a place of discovery. The city sounds soften into the subtle buzz of coffee grinding and espresso pouring, while friends sip contentedly and deepen their conversation. God is discovered here. He is present in the midst of every ordinary activity in the city desert.
Charles supposed that “we can live the life of Nazareth anywhere.” Is this truly the case? Can Nazareth be lived by a married man with twins in Seattle, or a young woman in war-torn Damascus, or a priest in the throws of Vatican City politics? Can Nazareth be lived anywhere by anyone? It is this supposition that anyone, anywhere can live Nazareth to which these Letters from the Desert will attest.
Your brother in Jesus and Mary,
Gabriel Luke Mary
Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.