November 19, 2006.

Dear Friends,

We will gather together for our Badaliya Prayer on Sunday, November 19, 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, in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Starting with the feasts of All Saints and All Souls Day during this month we are invited to reflect more deeply on the lives of the Saints and to remember those souls whom we have known and loved who have gone before us. The Badaliya prayer owes much of its inspiration to Massignon's vision of the Communion of Saints and his relationship with his friend and mentor, Blessed Charles de Foucauld who was beatified on November 13th one year ago. Our Badaliya in the United States adopted the Palestinian, Blessed Mariam of Jesus Crucified, (1846-1878, known as the '"Little Arab'"),who was beatified by Pope John Paul II, also on November 13th in 1983, as our patron saint. Louis Massignon called her the patron saint of the Holy Land because she was a Palestinian Arab Christian, born into poverty, who was able to establish the Carmelite Monasteries in Bethlehem and Nazareth before she died at the age of 33. There is much in her story of suffering and hardship but also of great love and devotion that reminds us of all our Arab Christian brothers and sisters and the pain and suffering that they are enduring at this time. Let us pray this month especially for the Palestine refugees, both Christian and Muslim, and for an end to the violence that prevents successful negotiation and a peaceful resolution of this conflict that has destabalized the Middle East for almost 60 years.

In speaking of his relationship with Foucauld, Massignon describes how he was led to discover the sacred in all human beings and how Foucauld led him '"out of the classic problem of the relationship between science and faith to rediscover the Christian faith in the wound of divine compassion between fighters who had become brothers'".Massignon admired Foucauld's scientific exploration and linguistic work with the Berber language of the people with whom he lived and served in the Sahara, but, he wrote: '" There is a deeper level of intelligence in which Foucauld, when he became a believer, was an explorer and exceptional discoverer. This is the level of religious psychology, of that true missiology that is the experiential discovery of the sacred in others, and, in response, of holiness in oneself. ...This experiential knowledge of the sacred is not a ready-made science; it is an understanding, an interiorization, which cannot be communicated by external means but by acceptance through the transference to ourselves of the sufferings of others.... Among believers, the directors of souls know very well that one cannot build the administrative life of a community on these hidden charisms, but to the souls who have experienced them they recommend honoring a call to go out of themselves toward others, to love fraternally outside their own milieu and their relationships in time and space, here on earth, in a fraternallization that is directed toward the universal. For these sufferings from compassion are the signs of the predestination of everyone to a higher, immortal life. Whoever's heart lives by love, cannot die'".

Massignon continues to describe the '"unforeseeable, irreversible,and irrefutable coincidences between (the two of us) that have woven a constellation of tiny weblike threads between our two vocations and our two destinies'".
(trans.H. Mason. p. 21-23 in '"Testimonies and Reflections'"1989. From LM's Parole Donneé)

Many brothers and sisters living in the lay and religious communities of Charles de Foucauld today can attest to the connection between Massignon and Foucauld that continues to inspire vocations and lives dedicated to compassionate suffering, the deeper meaning of the call to Badaliya prayer.

Peace to you.