November 5, 2023.

Dear Friends,

We will gather together remotely for our Badaliya and Peace Islands Institute faith sharing on Sunday November 5, 2023 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Please join us on Zoom, or in spirit, as we encourage Inter-faith relations and pray together for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, especially in Israel and Palestine, due to the escalating violence and war in Gaza, and for an end to the war in the Ukraine. Our prayers are on-going for all the victims of the three devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and the recent earthquake victims in Morocco and Afghanistan.

Along with the many natural disasters that are mentioned above we must turn our attention to the human inflicted disaster that is being lived at this moment in Israel and Gaza. Our dedication to Maryam of Jesus Crucified, Palestinian founder of the Bethlehem Carmelite Monastery as patron Saint of the Badaliya USA in 2002 was a purposeful choice due to the on-going conflict in her, and our, Holy Land. Well before the establishment of the modern State of Israel, Louis Massignon foresaw the outcome if the Zionist project did not provide for the UN suggested vision of Jerusalem remaining open to all Muslims, Christians and Jews whose roots were formed in this universal City of Peace. Here is a short example among his many talks and writings about the establishment of the modern State of Israel and the Palestinians. He wrote:

"this Holy Land should not be an object of sharing between privileged people, but the seamless tunic of world reconciliation, a place of intimate mixing of everyone, and to begin with, between those who have all the more reason to unite than to hate each other, both Semites, Jews and Arabs, sons of Abraham, and Christians, spiritual Semites, who all should have renounced idol worship because these idols are those of perfectly vain crimes; what use, in fact, is an assassination, as Gandhi said, since the soul is immortal?"

"It must be admitted that if there is a country where the temporal must bow before the spiritual in order to realize our need for world unity, it is certainly Palestine; the only point of insertion, of application of the spiritual into the temporal geography; because there was only one that history predestines the Holy Land, with Jerusalem, since the time of Abraham, -----for an animation of the desire for peace, and prayers for justice toward the high place, Jerusalem."

Louis Massignon died in Paris on October 31, 1962, on the vigil of All Saints Day in the Roman Catholic Church. This feast day was celebrated as a solemn Mass in churches all over the world this past week in recognition of the vast Communion of Saints that were so present to Massignon in his spiritual journey. In her diary, portions of which were published in 2010, Mary Kahil wrote: "Louis Massignon will not be mentioned with the other saints. He will be holy on his own, he will be a saint."

The Qur'an suggests that everything that we suffer in life is a part of the plan of Allah who "alternates days of victory and defeat among people so that Allah may reveal true believers."

Qur'an 3:140 Ayah al-Imran (The House of Imran) states: "if you suffer hardship the enemy also suffers hardship."

Perhaps we could say that "true believers" are those who are able to recognize themselves in all others. In recognizing in everyone the 10th century Sufi mystic al Hallaj's "le point vierge", that eternal spark of Divine Love, we are living the essence of Massignon's vision of Badaliya.

As Christian and Muslim believers we come together every month to be reminded of who we are in the eyes of Divine Love. We know that violence begets violence in a perpetual cycle unless we are willing to speak truth to power as Jesus does in so many of the Gospel accounts. We have much to share in supporting one another in this gathering as Islands of Peace in an increasingly divided and violent world. Let us be inspired by the vision of the mystical lovers of the Divine in standing together with every effort at peace with justice, especially in Israel and Palestine, and in every area of conflict throughout the world. Let the mystical poet's voice be heard:

"Whoever has a soul catches the scent of the rose garden of the soul, whoever has that realizes we are all that." (Rumi)

Peace to you,

  1. Louis Massignon: Écrits Mémorables, vol. I, pp 736-7. Robert Lafont.
  2. Jacques Keryell: Mary Kahil: Une grande dame d'Église (1889-1979), p. 215. S.N. Librarie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner S.A. 2010.
  3. J. Rumi: Quotation from August 16th Devotions: Wisdom from the Cradle of Civilization collected and introduced by Danielle and Olivier Föllmi. Abrams Books, NY 2008.

See for all past letters to the Badaliya and Peace Islands