December 1: [Charles de Foucauld, Monastic and Martyr, 1916]

The Collect of the Day

Charles de Foucauld

Loving God, help us to know you wherever we find you and seek to serve you in all people, that with your servant Charles de Foucauld, we may be faithful even unto death; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Charles de Foucauld

Loving God, help us to know thee wherever we find thee and seek to serve thee in all people, that with thy servant Charles de Foucauld, we may be faithful even unto death; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Charles de Foucauld, sometimes referred to as Brother Charles of Jesus, is often credited with the revival of desert spirituality in the early twentieth century and was the inspiration behind the founding of new religious communities for men and women.

Born in Strasbourg, France in 1858, Charles was orphaned at age six and raised by his grandparents. As a young man, he lost his faith and, in spite of the discipline of his grandfather, whom he deeply respected, Charles lived a life that was a mix of laxity and stubbornness. After training as a career army officer, Charles served in Algeria and Tunisia until he resigned his commission in 1882. He then became an explorer in Morocco. There he encountered devout Muslims, whose practice of their faith inspired Charles to begin a search for the faith that was his own. Upon returning to France, he continued his quest, and, in 1886, at age 28, re-discovered God and made a new commitment that would guide the rest of his life.

Charles entered the Cistercian Order of Strict Observance, the Trappists, first in France and then in Syria, for a commitment of seven years. He then went to Nazareth and lived as a servant to a convent of the Poor Clares. It was there that he began to develop a life of solitude, prayer, and adoration. The Poor Clares saw in him a vocation to the priesthood, encouraged him in spite of his reluctance, and he was ordained a priest in 1901.

Charles then moved to the Sahara, where his desire was to live a “ministry of presence” among “the furthest removed, the most abandoned.” He believed his call was to live among those whose faith and culture differed from his own. To witness to Christ among them was not to be eloquent preaching or missionary demands, but “to shout the Gospel with his life.” Charles sought to live so that those who saw his life would ask, “If such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”

Charles lived among the Tuareg people, learning their language and culture as he ministered to them. He was shot to death outside his refuge by bandits on December 1st, 1916. He is considered a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church and was beatified in 2005.

Lessons and Psalm

First Lesson



1Truly, God is good to Israel, *to those who are pure in heart.

2But as for me, my feet had nearly slipped; *I had almost tripped and fallen;

3Because I envied the proud *and saw the prosperity of the wicked:

4For they suffer no pain, *and their bodies are sleek and sound;

5In the misfortunes of others they have no share; *they are not afflicted as others are;

6Therefore they wear their pride like a necklace *and wrap their violence about them like a cloak.

7Their iniquity comes from gross minds, *and their hearts overflow with wicked thoughts.

8They scoff and speak maliciously; *out of their haughtiness they plan oppression.

9They set their mouths against the heavens, *and their evil speech runs through the world.

10And so the people turn to them *and find in them no fault.

11They say, “How should God know? *is there knowledge in the Most High?”

12So then, these are the wicked; *always at ease, they increase their wealth.

13In vain have I kept my heart clean, *and washed my hands in innocence.

14I have been afflicted all day long, *and punished every morning.

15Had I gone on speaking this way, *I should have betrayed the generation of your children.

16When I tried to understand these things, *it was too hard for me;

17Until I entered the sanctuary of God *and discerned the end of the wicked.

18Surely, you set them in slippery places; *you cast them down in ruin.

19Oh, how suddenly do they come to destruction, *come to an end, and perish from terror!

20Like a dream when one awakens, O Lord, *when you arise you will make their image vanish.

21When my mind became embittered, *I was sorely wounded in my heart.

22I was stupid and had no understanding; *I was like a brute beast in your presence.

23Yet I am always with you; *you hold me by my right hand.

24You will guide me by your counsel, *and afterwards receive me with glory.

25Whom have I in heaven but you? *and having you I desire nothing upon earth.

26Though my flesh and my heart should waste away, *God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

27Truly, those who forsake you will perish; *you destroy all who are unfaithful.

28But it is good for me to be near God; *I have made the Lord God my refuge.



John 16:25–33

25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26 On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.” 29 His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”

James 1:1–11

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7 for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 9 Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, 10 and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.