Sunday, November 13, 2005

Jesus Caritas

A source on the ground in Rome sets the scene like this: "It's a microcosm of what it was like when Escriva was canonized...." Only thing is, today belongs to the masses of de Foucauld devotees present in town as Brother Charles of Jesus is declared "Blessed."

For various reasons, a good bit of attention focuses on The Work. But in reality, the Jesus Caritas movement of priests inspired by Blessed Charles de Foucauld's spirituality is significantly more prominent in terms of its membership and its sphere of influence in the life of the wider church. In the United States alone, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix is a member, and Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Harrisburg (an Olmsted protege) is another strong adherent of the Jesus Caritas school. In the clerical and prelatial ranks, there are many others -- more than you'd think -- who also belong to the small groups of (between five and seven) priests which maintain a daily hour of adoration before the Eucharist, a commitment to living in notable austerity, sharing much-needed camaraderie, affirmation and reflection with their peers, and the taking of one day a month "in the desert," away from the absurdities and fleeting demands of the world.

In a time when priestly morale in this country stands at perilously low levels, and the depression, lack of confidence and sense of embattlement many good clerics feel is a burden too often borne alone, here's hoping today's observances across the pond spark... something. Something good. And a reminder to those guys in great need of a boost that, indeed, even in the desert, none of us are ever alone.

Congrats to the Focauldian family of communities.