Carlo Caretto on Faith


And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night
like snow falling in the darkness of the house—
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.
 

—Billy Collins from the poem, Silence

Carlo Caretto's infamous letter to The Church has been my mantra for as long as I can remember. (it's on my side bar.)
 Carlo Carretto was a monk, one of the Little Brothers of Jesus. He divided his time between the order's house in the Sahara and Spello (near Assisi) in the Umbrian Hills, where he lived as a hermit.

 This reflection from here is reproduced below ...
 
"In the book Summoned By Love he wrote, "When I think about the state of the world, of the Church which is its conscience, and of myself who am a very small antenna of both world and Church, I feel that we are entering the eye of a cyclone."

What troubles him most, however, is not the cyclone but the fear that has Christians in its grip. 


What we are experiencing in our time is "the history of Israel all over again," he contends, "the adventure of being exiles and pilgrims on earth....

"We Christians ought henceforth, I think, to consider ourselves as being in a foreign land, as deportees in a modern Babylon, reduced to tiny minorities but witnessing to the Invisible, no longer as bosses but as guests among the nations, offering a message which has the power to save, offering a hope which is in fact the only hope.

"It may be that the Church will have hard times, as Israel had in the time of the Babylonian Captivity." But, he writes, "this doesn't worry me much, since Christ himself has set us free from fear; hence I am no longer in Israel's position, to be terrorized by the Assyrian sword....

"I am full of hope," he concludes. "And it is genuine hope, not hope founded on human optimism.... It is not based on my own strength, nor on the organized resources of the Church, but on the living God alone, on his love for the human race, on his actions throughout history, on his saving will."
 "I could put it very briefly: I have discovered how to be much poorer than I thought I was before.... The more you find your poverty, the more it stimulates you to pray."


 He then lifts up to us all what the Little Brothers of Jesus call the Prayer of Abandonment: ( written by Brother Charles de Foucald, pictured below)

 Father,
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.

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.


The sign of Corretto's hope lies both in the signature that follows and the place, season, and calendar year when writing: Carlo Caretto, Spello, Easter, 1975.


Carlo Carretto at Spello, July 1971
Carlo Carretto at Spello, July 1971 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I fished out my copy of Summoned by Love and found another passage where he compares our life on earth with the gestation of a baby.

 "The gestation of a child lasts for nine months. Our gestation as sons of God, a whole lifetime.

The child in its mother's womb has little room to dispose of; in God's womb there is all the room in the world.

 





But even if we can run and do all sorts of things in it, this is still 'inside', and hence we still can't see the face of our begetter.

"In him, we are, we move, we breathe" (Acts 17:28), but we do not see.

When we eventually emerge, we shall see him face to face, as Scripture tells us.

Now, God wraps us up like this, and the darkness of his activity is called faith; the incentive to become our complete selves is called hope, and the love sustaining all this is called charity.

It is hard for us not to forget that he is there.

It is hard because everything that happens to us, happens in silence, and the silence frightens us.

We should like him to say, "here I am" or reveal his presence with thunder or lightening...but he prefers silence...the things of God have no need of words.


Image source


"The heavens proclaim God's glory,
the sky displays his creative skill;
day after day, this is re-attested,
night after night, this is re-affirmed.

Not by speaking, not by talking,
not by any sound that can be heard,
but, by spanning the entire earth,
this message reaches the whole world."

Things speak for themselves; the heavens themselves speak. But God comes in silence...

I know that the path of faith, hope and charity leads in the opposite direction from the path of illusion.

It leads towards God's silence.
Towards the starkness of the Cross. 
Towards the transparency of night.

It is like light. 


In the cosmos all is dark, outside the atmosphere all is dark.

Yet nothing is more luminous than this pure darkness."

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