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Prayer of Abandonment Charles de Foucauld

foucauld_iconeFather,
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.

This wonderful Prayer of Abandonment is written by Charles de Foucauld. I have long had a fascination for him and his followers, including visiting his hermitages in the Sahara.

I am now trying to clarify details of this prayer in Blessed Charles’s life’s timeline.

One has it that Br Charles wrote this prayer while on retreat in Nazareth (November 1897)
Another has it that the Prayer of Abandonment is actually Br Charles’s reflection of Jesus’ prayer to his Father, written while he was a Cistercian in Akbès in Syria.
Does anyone have which one of these is correct, plus reference (especially web link)? Or maybe there’s even a different version of its history?

I also remember there was at least one individual who attempted to join Br Charles in his lifestyle, but left, having found it too austere. Can anyone tell me the name of this person (or persons) and any details? Thanks.

For readers here for whom Br Charles is new, here is a good summary from my e-friend Fr Michael:

Charles de Foucauld was born in Strasbourg on September 15, 1858. He grew up in an aristocratic family. He served as a French army officer in Algeria but left the army in 1882 and went as an explorer to Morocco.

In 1890 he joined the Trappist order, but left in 1897 to follow an as yet undefined religious vocation. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1901. Thereafter 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?”

He wanted to establish a new religious order and wrote several rules for this religious life. This new order, the Little Brothers of Jesus, however, would not become a reality until after his death.

Charles de Foucauld was shot to death by rebels December 1, 1916. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on November 13, 2005 and is considered a martyr of the Roman Catholic Church.

Some sources: The Spiritual Autobiography of Charles De Foucauld and Charles De Foucauld: Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series)

icon: Br Charles and Jesus by a Little Sister of Jesus

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17 Responses to Prayer of Abandonment Charles de Foucauld

  1. Josh says:

    This looks quite similar to the Covenant Prayer of John Wesley, which he adapted from the German Pietists (if memory serves)…

  2. Samuel says:

    Abandonment to Lord’s Will is something doesn’t come easy in this times or any time at all. The human kind always wants to keep their own agenda in life. I think the main thought of this prayer should be ours in the everyday living. One day at time. And this kind of commitment requires some grace, ¡His!

  3. Bosco Peters says:

    OK – I’m making some personal progress on this. The French Wikipedia has an article on the Prayer of Abandonment – if you can’t read French then here’s the google English translation (I love it that the google translation of Prayer of Abandonment is “Please Drop”!! :-) http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&sl=fr&tl=en&u=http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pri%25C3%25A8re_d%27abandon&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&twu=1&usg=ALkJrhh1r3_XweiZ_qhtTTl-l98xpELPww

  4. great post. interesting

  5. Cathy says:

    Yes, the prayer of Abandon was never written by Charles de Foucauld per se but was taken from meditations that he wrote as a young monk in Akbes, Syria as he reflected on the Passion. He imagined the words to be those of Jesus on the cross. (He was already trying to discern what he was called to do, already thinking of leaving the Trappists…) What we know as Charles de Foucauld’s Prayer of Abandon was edited to the well known form by Little Sister Magdeleine (Hutin) who founded the Little Sisters of Jesus in 1939 in Algeria. The wikipedia entry is correct in that. I know this for a fact as I am a member of this group. You can find more about it in “Charles de Foucauld – Journey of the Spirit” published by Pauline Books and Media, written by Cathy Wright lsj

  6. Maurice says:

    For me this is the most powerful prayer and I have been saying it for years and distributed it to many. It is the kind of prayer that one cannot just say by hearth without realizing its consequences in one’s life.

  7. Michael says:

    See also the so-called Third Step Prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous. Foucauld’s would seem to have provided the template.

  8. I just “stumbled” upon your site while looking up Charles de Foucauld. I will take some time to look around. So far I like what I see.

    God Bless You!
    SandyO

  9. S says:

    Hello,

    I was just wondering, can this prayer be prayed by anyone or is it a prayer to be said specifically by people in religious orders? Thanks!

    • Bosco Peters says:

      Easter Season Greetings “S”. We normally use our ordinary name on this site – there is no need to be anonymous.

      I can see nothing in this prayer that limits it to any particular sub-group of Christians. I imagine all of us find it equally challenging. What do you think?

      Christ is Risen!

  10. Dale Camillo says:

    One of my favorite prayers of all time. This is what the spiritual path is all about, surrendering yourself over to God and God’s will. I repeat it often. In this world of materialism, ego, and self, what better way to put your life back into perspective, than to read this prayer over and over again until you humbly live it. I often repeat this simple phrase throughout the day, “Not my will , Oh God, but Thine, be done through me.” This helps keep me focused, not on myself, but God and service.

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Rev. Bosco Peters Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.