#3 - April 27, 2003

Dear Friends of the Badaliya,

We met in the Bethlehem Chapel at Brandeis University for our Badaliya prayer on Sunday April 27th at the gracious invitation of the Catholic Chaplain, Fr. David Michael. In the quiet of this intimate sacred space we continued to share our reflections on the importance of Abraham in Louis Massignon's spirituality and his vision of the profound connections of the three Abrahmic faith traditions.

Readings were taken from Fr. Sidney Griffiths "Sharing the Faith of Abraham: Reflections on the Development of a Christian Theology of Islam in the Twentieth Century; the 'Credo' of Louis Massignon", a statement from the Pope, and sections from an article by Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio,SJ called In Praise of Syncretism:A message to Jesuits involved in Muslim-Christian Relations".

Paolo Dall'Oglio is an Italian Jesuit living in the Christian community and monastery of Deir Mar Musa near Damascus in Syria, a place that he considers as Christian as it is Muslim. Its members, he says, intend "to reinvent the positive relationship that existed between the first Muslims and the {Christian} monks on the borders of the Arabian desert".He also wrote: "Do I consider myself personally a Muslim? I think so, through evangelical grace and obedience. I am a Muslim because of the love of God for Muslims and Islam. I cannot but be a mUslim by way of the Spirit and not the letter. In the same way,like Jesus and the apostles, I am Jewish by way of the Spirit". This article can be found at http://justgoodcompany.com/1.2/dallogliotext.htm

In a recent visit with Fr Griffith in Washington DC I discovered a beautiful art book decsribing this monastery and community in Damascus called "The Frescoes of Mar Musa al-Habashi:A study in Medieval Painting in Syria".Fr. Griffith is in the process of creating a Badaliya prayer group at Catholic University in Washington DC. We look forward to sharing our reflections and experience of this prayer as we deepen our commitment to open our hearts to be able to "cross over to the other" in compassion and hospitality.

Our next gathering will be on Pentecost Sunday, June 8th at 2pm. Please join us in the spirit of our prayer for peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land and throughout the world.

Peace to you.