September 20, 2015.
We will gather together for our Badaliya and Peace Islands Institute faith sharing on Sunday, September 20, 2015 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm at St. Paul 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.
As we enter into a new academic year and revive the spirit of the Badaliya and the Peace Islands Institute, Muslims, Christians and minority religious groups are continuing to be threatened and persecuted in the Middle East and Africa. Our efforts to join our hearts and minds in faith sharing and “crossing over to the other”, in the words of Massignon, are needed more than ever. To counter politically motivated violence, and retaliation for perceived injuries, we are called by the true teachings of our religious traditions to pray, fast and work diligently for justice, reconciliation and peace, first of all within ourselves and always with love and respect for one another.
In the Book of Wisdom we read:
“God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them/ nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.” (1:13-15, 2:23-24)
The following verse from the Qur’an calls those who create division and promote war and struggle, a follower of Satan.
"O believers, enter the peace, all of you, and follow not the steps of Satan; he is a manifest foe to you." (2:208)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ
One of the readings for this Sunday in the Catholic Lectionary from the letter of Saint James states,
“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.” (3:16)
The early foundations of the Islamic community of faith, established by unifying the diverse and antagonistic tribal communities at the time was described on one web site as a ”divine miracle”.
"Had thou expended all that is in the earth, thou could not have brought their hearts together; but God brought their hearts together; surely He is All-mighty, All-wise." (8:63)
لَوْ أَنْفَقْتَ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مَا أَلَّفْتَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ أَلَّفَ بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ
In the original statutes of the Badaliya, Massignon suggests that we turn to the writings of Blessed Charles de Foucauld, the hermit priest who dedicated his life to living with and serving the Muslim Tuareg Berber community in the Algerian Sahara until his untimely death on December 1, 1916.
“There is one case where we must resist evil forcefully. It is when it is not a case of defending ourselves but of protecting others. It takes forcefulness to defend the weak and the innocent when their oppressors wrong them. The spirit of peace is not a spirit of weakness but a spirit of strength.” ( Annie of Jesus, in Charles de Foucauld: In the Footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth, New City Press, 2001. P. 84)
May these quotations help us to reflect more deeply together on our efforts to bring peace and reconciliation and loving hearts and minds into the many conflicts and human tragedies that plague our modern world.
Peace to you.
(See all past Badaliya USA letters posted at www.dcbuck.com)