June 25, 2006.
We will gather together for our Badaliya Prayer on Sunday, June 25, 2006 from 3pm-4:30pm in the small chapel in St. Paul's Parish Center. Please join us in person or in spirit as we pray for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East and especially in the Holy Land.
At our gathering in May, the Boston Badaliya co-sponsored a talk by Sheila Provencher, a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams who spent 2 years in Iraq. Sheila was able to bring us with her, through photographs and personal stories, to the non-violent way of peacemaking, of praying, working, and living with families in conflict-ridden countries that is the CPT mission. It is a dangerous and life-threatening call. Yet it is also life-giving, hopeful and inspiring to know that in Iraq and Israel/Palestine and many other war-torn areas there are wonderful people dedicated to peaceful resolutions of their internal conflicts, that there are Muslim Peacemaker Teams who are also answering the call to what Massignon calls, Sacred Hospitality.
It seems appropriate as we move into the summer months and will not meet again until the end of August, to reflect on this gift of Hospitality that Massignon asociates with Almsgiving, or Zakat in Islam. I invite you to bring your reflections or readings to our gathering in June and may they serve to nourish our summer prayer and reflections as well.
The following quotations from Massignon and Blessed Charles de Foucauld help us to deepen our reflections on the meaning of substitutionary prayer, of Badaliya:
From Massignon's Annual letter 15 quoted on page 129 in Bassetti-Sani's "Louis Massignon: Christian Ecumenist":
"The most basic kind of charity is the offering of the self, i.e., hospitality, which is a synthesis of the works of mercy. The exercise of hospitality, essential in Abrahamic Islam, is also essential for the Badaliya, because this movement ask us to take in the Poorest of the poor, the Exile par excellence, God, hidden, 'substituted', in the most defenceless of those strangers who come to us for hospitality.... Let us recall, with St. Benedict, the mysticism of hospitality: the Virgin gave hospitality to the Holy Spirit on the day of the Annuciation, touching upon, like Abraham at Mamre (Gen.18:2-9), the very basis of the mystery of the Trinity, in which God is, in turn, the guest, the host and the home
Although Massignon's intent in the following letter was for peace in Algeria at that time, if we replace "Algeria" with Iraq, or Israel/Palestine, we can make his prayer our own:
'We must intensify our supplication to God, through the mediation of Our Lady, in order to hasten peace in Algeria. For that, we have the obligation to multiply our works of mercy, both spiritual and material, uniting us with our Muslim friends. This is not a disputable "communicatio in divinis", this is an irrefutable "commercium in spiritualibus"; in the end it is precisely on this sacred Hospitality, that all of us will be judged".
Massignon is reminding us of the essence of hospitality, of universal justice, by quoting Matthew 23:35 where the "Judge' says to the elect, "I was a stranger and you took me in".
Massignon learned from his spiritual mentor, Charles de Foucauld, that the Badaliya is first and foremost a call to love God that leads us to ever deeper ways of living Sacred Hospitality in our every day lives. In a letter to Massignon written on April 11, 1911, Foucauld wrote:
"The more and more your heart enlarges , the more and more you will love, not only God alone, but first God and then all creatures for Him...the more and more you feel the need to imitate the Beloved only in order to be made one with Him,..."
Quoting Saint Paul, Foucauld wrote "It is no longer I who lives, it is Jesus-----the Heart of Jesus---who lives in me".
In Opera Minora, volume III, pp.339-353 Massignon explores the right to asylum associated with almsgiving and hospitality:
"Through hospitality we find the sacred at the center of the mystery of our destinies, like a furtive and divine alm that no insurance, social or otherwise, can give to us...By sheltering and caring for the soul through our mortal bodies, hospitality attests to the immortal value of the most humble human life".
May you be blessed with a peaceful and prayerful summer.
Peace to you.