Charles de Foucauld canonized: “The figure of the hermit makes us dream”

The Cross the Weekly : Charles de Foucauld lived as a hermit. Is this one of the reasons why his figure attracts so much?

Jean-Claude Noye: Hermits are people who find themselves outside the framework, escaping massification in a choice of solitude and assumed silence and in a natural space that makes us dream in our often noisy and concrete lives. The relation is the first food of the man. The hermit bypasses this basic need through his transcendent relationship with the All-Other.

→ LARGE FORMAT. Crossing our deserts with Charles de Foucauld

Does eremitism take on a heroic dimension?

J.-CN: Certainly. It is pushed to the extreme with the Fathers of the desert, in asceticism and radical withdrawal. There is almost a warlike dimension, a holy war waged against our sad passions. With moments of acidity which require the recourse to a spiritual director, role played by the abbot Huvelin at Charles de Foucauld. The vast majority of Christian hermits are monks and nuns and only leave with the authorization of their congregation to live this “one on one with God”. It is a guarantee against the traps of the ego, the temptation to consider oneself out of the ordinary. This approach of framed faith avoids excesses.

→ MAINTENANCE. “Foucauld pushes the horizon back to its limits each time”

Is living the spirituality of the desert possible today?

J.-CN: This is difficult in our world, where we are constantly solicited. To quote Bernanos in La France contre les robots: “One understands absolutely nothing about modern civilization if one does not first admit that it is a universal conspiracy against all kinds of inner life. It is nevertheless possible to initiate oneself to this spirituality by doing a retreat of a few days, for example.


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