#31 May 21, 2006.

Dear Friends,

For our May 21, 2006 gathering of the Badaliya in Boston we are sponsoring a talk by Christian Peacemaker Team member, Sheila Provencher. Sheila was with CPT in Iraq from December 2003 to December 2005. Our gathering will be at 2 pm on Sunday May 21, 2006 in DiGiovanni Hall, St. Paul Church in Cambridge, MA. We are pleased to have as our co-sponsor the St. Paul Lay Committee on Contemporary Spiritual and Public Concerns.

In his letters to Badaliya members Louis Massignon lists the many talks, conferences, publications, prayer vigils, pilgrimages and Fasts that the Badaliya members attended or organized as witnesses to their faith in substitutionary prayer and solidarity with those of all faith traditions suffering from injustices in the world. In keeping with this tradition we ask for your prayers if you are unable to attend Sheila's talk about her experience in Iraq.

"The Christian Peacemaker Teams arose from a call in 1984 for Christians to devote the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war. Today, CPT places violence-reduction teams in crisis situations and militarized areas around the world at the invitation of local peace and human rights workers. CPT embraces the vision of unarmed intervention waged by committed peacemakers ready to risk injury and death in bold attempts to transform lethal conflict through the nonviolent power of God's truth and love". (CPT flyer)

For those who are praying with us in spirit I offer some reflections and quotes by one of my favorite American witnesses to nonviolent peacemaking, Dorothy Day. These reflections are taken from the most recent Catholic Worker with a reprint of a January 1967 article, called, "Deliver Us From Fear".

We are the most powerful nation, the most armed, and we are supplying arms and money to the rest of the world when we are not ourselves fighting. We are eating while there is famine in the world.... The Works of Mercy are the opposite of the works of war; feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, nursing the sick, visiting the prisoner. But we are destroying crops, setting fire to entire villages and to the people in them. We are not performing the Works of Mercy but the works of war. We cannot repeat this enough.

Deliver us, O Lord, from the fear of our enemies, which makes cowards of us all.... I can sit in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and wrestle for that peace in the bitterness of my soul, a bitterness which many Catholics throughout the world feel, and I can find many things in Scripture to console me, to change my heart from hatred to love of enemy. "Our worst enemies are those of our own household", Jesus said. ....

I have often thought it as a brave thing to do, these Christmas visits of Cardinal Spellman to the American troops all over the world....But, oh, God, what are all these Americans, so-called Christians doing all over the world so far from our shores?

Deliver us Lord, from the fear of the enemy. That is one of the lines in the psalms, and we are not asking God to deliver us from enemies but from the fear of them. Love casts out fear, but we have to get over the fear in order to get close enough to love them.

There is plenty to do, for each one of us, working on our own hearts, changing our own attitudes, in our own neighborhoods. If the just man falls seven times daily, we each one of us fall more than that in thought ,word and deed. Prayer and fasting, taking up our own cross daily and following Him, doing penance, these are the hard words of the Gospel.

Since there is no time with God, we are all one, all one body, Chinese, Russians, Vietnamese, and He has commanded us to love one another.
"A new commandment I give, that you love one another as I have loved you," not to the defending of your life, but to the laying down of your life.
A hard saying.
"Love is indeed a harsh and dreadful thing" to ask of us, of each one of us, but it is the only answer.

May we reflect deeply with Dorothy Day on her ever so current thoughts and quotations and open our own hearts and minds in Badaliya as we pray for Peaceful resolutions to conflicts in our world, especially in the Middle East and the Holy Land, and for loving reconciliation of all faith traditions.

Peace to you.

A Special Badaliya Presentation

Sheila Provencher

Harvard '94, Catholic Lay Minister

Member, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Iraq

Sunday, May 21, 2006, 2:00 p.m.

Saint Paul Parish,

DiGiovanni Hall
29 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

*Badaliya prays for reconciliation among the three great Abrahamic faiths, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, in the spirit of Louis Massignon and Bl. Charles de Foucauld.

This presentation is co-sponsored by the St. Paul Parish Lay Committee on Contemporary Spiritual-and-Public Concerns.

Sheila Provencher is a lay minister, human-rights worker, and student. Sheila is a Catholic member of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), an ecumenical organization which sends teams of trained peacemakers to work with local partners in situations of violent conflict around the world. (www.cpt.org)

Sheila worked full-time for CPT in Iraq from Dec 2003-Dec 2005. Her presentations focus on the joys and sorrows in the daily lives of ordinary Iraqis, the devastating costs of war, and ways to seek nonviolent solutions to today's global conflicts.