EUROPE/ITALY – The missionary must be the image of Jesus: ‘My God, how good you are. The life and message of Charles de Foucauld’

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Rome – “The missionary must be the image of Jesus, conform to Jesus, externally and internally through imitation”, writes Fr. Andrea Mandonico, General Archivist of the Society for African Missions, in a note sent to Fides.
The occasion is the celebration, on Monday 20 September, of the literary prize of the Ambassadors to the Holy See 2021 for the book ‘My God, how good you are. The life and message of Charles de Foucauld’ of which the SMA missionary is the author.
“This identification – continues Fr. Mandonico – is possible only if you take the Gospel seriously and are rooted in it, where holiness is not optional but the indispensable foundation of mission. The work of the missionary is therefore not to do many works but rather to live, to be present among these peoples, and to show them what life is like following Christ and the joy of simply living the Gospel, but with commitment”.
The author highlights in this book the ‘missionary nature’ of Charles de Foucauld. “He did not go to the desert to live as a ‘hermit’, in search of that ‘fuga mundi’ so dear to the first monks, but he went there to evangelize and consecrate his whole life to Muslims, for these poorer brothers’ who do not have anything’. And he announces the Gospel to you according to the style of the mystery of the Visitation : bearing witness to Jesus and his salvation in the manner of the Virgin Mary, bringing Jesus who, with his presence alone, sanctifies the house of Zechariah”.
“His ideal – explains Fr. Mandonico – is “imitating the Blessed Virgin in the mystery of the Visitation, like her, silently bringing Jesus into the Eucharist and practicing the evangelical virtues”.
The Literary Prize, born in 2019 from the initiative of a group of ambassadors to the Holy See, is aimed at authors who publish books in Italian on issues relating to Christian culture and values, relations between Christian Churches and States, the history of Christian churches and interreligious dialogue.