Above: Carlo Carretto
Image in the Public Domain
CARLO CARRETTO (APRIL 2, 1910-OCTOBER 4, 1988)
I feel immersed in God like a drop in the ocean, like a star in the immensity of night, like a lark in the summer sun or a fish in the sea.
Carlo Carretto, born into a peasant family in northern Italy on April 2, 1910, eventually became a spiritual writer. Initially he prepared to become a teacher, but politics prevented that; he was a member of the Fascist Party. Our saint became involved in the youth wing of the Catholic Action movement instead. That movement was consistent with his desire to advance the Catholic Church’s social and religious message. This work occupied Carretto’s time for nearly 20 years.
In 1954 our saint answered God’s call (“Love everything and come with me into the desert. It is not your acts and deeds that I want; I want your prayer, your love.”) to join the Little Brothers of Jesus, founded by Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) in 1933. Carretto arrived at El Abiodh, in Algeria, in December 1954. There he remained for about a decade. Time in the desert prepared Carretto to return to Europe in 1964. He settled at Spello, Italy, the following year. There he built an experimental faith community that involved lay people in prayer and reflection.
Carretto became a respected spiritual writer, especially for Love is for Living, Letters from the Desert, and I, Francis. He was not, however, without ecclesiastical critics, due to his criticism of certain aspects (such as triumphalism and clericalism) of Roman Catholicism. The challenge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our saint insisted, was to create an oasis of love in the desert in which one finds oneself.
Who knows what creating such an oasis of love might require to one to do?
Carretto died on October 4, 1988, aged 78 years.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
FEBRUARY 23, 2017 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH, POLYCARP OF SMYRNA, AND IRENAEUS OF LYONS, BISHOPS AND MARTYRS
THE FEAST OF SAINT ALEXANDER AKIMETES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT
THE FEAST OF SAINT STEFAN WINCENTY FRELICHOWSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR
THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIGIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MAINZ; AND SAINT BERNWARD, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF HILDESHEIM
Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Carlo Carretto,
through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.
Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,
whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 3:11-23
–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60