One of the greatest contemporary spiritual writers I have happily encountered in the last few years is Carlo Carretto (1910-1988). Carretto was a member of the Little Brothers of Jesus, the order inspired by the spirituality of Charles de Foucauld. Through his best-selling Letters from the Desert, and more than a dozen other books, Carlo Carretto gave to Christians a joy-filled spirituality centered deeply in God’s love. Carretto showed us that it was possible to live a contemplative life in the midst of a very busy, modern world.
One of Carlo Carretto’s most moving reflections, which includes translations of his original Italian, reflects the sense of where I hope you will go with me as we discover that our love is too small.
If we are not capable during our lifetime of falling in love with God, we are lost.
Without love we are incomplete, immature, bored, missing paradise.
We would be doubtful and formulate the following equation: love of God equals peace, joy, bliss, fecundity, exultation, paradise; lack of love equals war, sadness, loneliness, sterility, death, hell . . .
“You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).
The requirements of the kingdom are the same requirements of love, which, by its very nature, sees us or makes us all equal.
The love of God complex us to become like God, similar to God, with the just that follow God.
There is no way out.
Since God loves the light , we too should love the light.
Since God forgives, we too must forgive.
Since God dies for love, we too should be ready to die for love.
To build the kingdom means precisely to work and act to become similar to God, following Christ as a model.
The kingdom is not built by our chatting, but rather by our acting.
The kingdom advances every time we carry our a concrete deed in response to love, which is God.
Every time I feed the hungry,
Every time I visit the imprisoned,
Every time I clothe the naked,
Every time I forgive the enemy,
Every time I share my belongings,
Every time I console the afflicted,
Every time I pray for the living and the dead.
Moreover, since love calls for equality, we shall love God with the same power of God’s love for us.
Which is, in one word, paradise (Joseph Diele, ed. Daily Reflections of Carol Carretto. New Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1996, 112-13).