April 19, 2015.

Dear Friends,

We will gather together for our Badaliya and Peace Islands Institute faith sharing on Sunday, April 19, 2015 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm at St. Pauls Church in Cambridge, in the small chapel located in the Parish Center. Please join us in person or in spirit as we encourage Interfaith relations and pray together for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East and especially in the Holy Land.

Christians, in the midst of the Easter Season, are called to reflect deeply on the experience of the events of Easter week and the joy of the Resurrection of Christ. The liturgy and sacraments of the Catholic Church are designed to help us to enter ever more fully every year into the life of Jesus, or into the Mystical Body of Christ. The fully human and fully Divine Christ becomes the Word of God made manifest calling us to reflect on His journey from Birth to Resurrection throughout the Liturgical year. His life, reflected upon in light of my own daily experience transforms my life into His. His Images of the desert experience of prayer and solitude and confrontation with our own temptations and weaknesses combine with the communal celebrations that lift us toward the mountain to hear the small, still whisper of God's voice cleansing and renewing our minds and hearts. We are called together to see the world with the eyes of God and to see God in one another. al- Hallaj, the Sufi saint and mystic of Islam, called this le point vièrge, the virgin point, or Virgin heart; that infinitesmal spark of God that dwells deeply within every human being, untouchable, inviolate and unchangeable despite our sin and weaknesses. The renowned Cardinal Jean Danielou wrote:

"The mystery of the Holy Trinity, known to us through the Word made flesh, and the mystery of the deification of man in him - that is the whole of our religion, summed up in one person, the person of Jesus Christ, God made man, in whom is everything we need to know."
(Jean Daniélou and the "Master-Key to Christian Theology" by Carl E. Olson, August 21, 2007.)

These are the words of The French Jesuit and Cardinal, Jean Daniélou, S.J., one of the foremost Catholic theologians of the 20th century. In February of this year a conference was held in Rome to re-examen the life and work of this contemporary and friend of Louis Massignon. Daniélou was called to be a theological expert at the Second Vatican Council and made a cardinal in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. Massignon and Daniélou were a generation apart in age and their lives appear to have very different trajectories yet there is a convergence of spiritual insights that is perhaps related to their 20 years of engagement and friendship through their writings and research and intense personal witness to the Gospel.

Daniélou first encountered Massignon when he was still a student at a lecture given by the renowned Professor, but by the late 1940's, when Massignon was near the end of his career at the Collège de France and entered into the stage of his life that took him from conferences and lectures around the world, to pilgrimages to holy sites, including many visits to the Holy Land, Daniélou had become a Jesuit Priest and completed his Doctorates in Theology and Literary Culture and was teaching the History of Christianity at the Institute Catholique. He lived down the street from Professor Massignon on the rue Monsieur.

"Daniélou was known for his dialogue with other religions and recognized for his balanced and insightful examinations of world religions--especially Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism--and for his penetrating analysis of modern culture." and was "unjustly pushed into the shadows after his death in 1974 at the home of a Parisian prostitute to whom he was secretly bringing assistance.....The veil has been lifted on the spirit and unknown activity of Daniélou by "Carnets spirituels," his spiritual diary, published twenty years after his death, and also by "Le chemin du labyrinthe," the autobiography of his brother Alain, a homosexual and convert to an eroticized form of Hinduism, the partner of Swiss photographer Raymond Burnier."
(Jean Daniélou and the "Master-Key to Christian Theology" by Carl E. Olson, August 21, 2007.)

"Beginning in 1943, together with the great scholar of Islam Louis Massignon, Daniélou celebrated every month, with the greatest discretion, a Mass for the sake of homosexuals, "for their salvation." This is confirmed by his great niece Emmanuelle de Boysson, in her book dedicated to the two brothers, "Le Cardinal et l'Hindouiste."

As his spiritual diary reveals, Cardinal Jean Daniélou took upon himself the sins [as he understood them] of his beloved brother Alain, so that his soul might be saved. The life lesson of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century ... On another page of the "Carnets spirituels," meditating on the passion of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, he comes to the point of wanting to take upon himself the weight of the "sins" of Alain and of anyone else:

"Jesus, I have come to know that you do not want me to distinguish my sins from the other sins of the world, but to enter more deeply into your heart and consider myself responsible for the sins of those persons whom you may wish: those of Alain, and of anyone else as it may please you. You make me feel, Jesus, that I must descend even lower, take with me the sins of others, accept as a result all the punishments that these may draw down upon me from your justice, and in a particular way the disdain of the persons for whom I will offer myself. To accept, or rather to long for dishonor, even in the eyes of those whom I love. To accept the great abasements, of which I am not worthy, in order to be ready at least to accept the small ones. Then, Jesus, my charity will resemble that with which you have loved me." (English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.in Newsletter www,Chiesa Rome Feb. 12,2015.(Zenit)
This is the essence of Massignon's Badaliya Prayer that invites us to reflect very deeply on the profound meaning of this kind-of call.

Both these spiritual giants, whose hearts burned with the interior fire of God's love for them and for every human being, were drawn to the Patriarch Abraham and to "the most necessary thing (unum necessarium); the liberation of captive souls.... Massignon's vision of eschatology was forever marked by the tragedy of the human condition, by triumphant injustice and by waiting for the judgement that unmasks the Truth..." (my translation from the French)
(Marie -Thérèse Bessirard "Louis Massignon et le Père Daniélou" in Louis Massignon et ses contemporains, sous le direction de Jacques Keryell. Éditions Karthala 1997. p. 179-180.)

I cannot do justice in this brief introduction to the spiritual intensity and experience of Cardinal Daniélou and Louis Massignon but leave you with refences for you to pursue below.

May this Easter Season inspire our Interfaith sharing in ever deeper ways.
Peace to you.

Jean Danielou, S.J., . was the author of numerous theological works, including The Salvation of the Nations and The Presence of God.(May 14, 1905 - May 20, 1974)

Marie -Thérèse Bessirard "Louis Massignon et le Père Daniélou" in Louis Massignon et ses contemporains, sous le direction de Jacques Keryell. Éditions Karthala 1997.