February 25, 2007.
We will gather together for our Badaliya Prayer on Sunday, February 25th from 3:00 pm-4:30 pm 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.
In the midst of the many conflicts in our world especially in the Middle East and the Holy Land we are invited to hold out our hope for reconciliation and non-violent solutions by our call to the Badaliya Prayer.
As we enter into the Christian season of fasting and prayer that we call Lent, our journey towards God and our experience of Badaliya call us ever more deeply into our struggle to open our hearts and minds, first to God and then to our brothers and sisters of all faith traditions. The God that we call "merciful" is found at the heart of all three monotheisms. With Louis Massignon as our guide we are led to his discussion of sacred hospitality, the kind of sacrifice of ourselves to God that allows us to be merciful to one another. Massignon writes:
In a study of the Opening Surah in the Qur'an, the Fatiha, we are introduced to two of the Ninety-nine "names" of God, Allah, prayed daily by Muslims everywhere:
"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 Abrahamitic Islam, is also essential for the Badaliya, because this movement asks 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 Annunciation, touching upon, like Abraham at Mamre (Gen.18:2-9) the very basis of the mystery of the Trinity, in which God is by turns, the guest, the host, and the home....
" This notion of sacred hospitality, which I have developed over a period of many years since 1908, when Foucauld encouraged me like an older brother, seems to me to be central in the search for Truth among men, in our travels and our work on earth, until we reach the threshold of life beyond the grave.....Forty years of travel within Islamic lands have led me to this conviction, confirmed by reality, that if Islam has survived all of its losses, territorial, economic and technical, this has been to preserve for the world, in the hearts of simple and sincere Muslims,,,,a solid reserve, infinitely precious, of faith in the divine promises, a faith which finds its true expression in the hospitality extended to every foreign visitor, as if he were the guest, the image of God, the Angel sent to Abraham at Mamre and who must one day help us recover the eschatological significance of sacred hospitality, the right of sanctuary, for the salvation of humankind"
"Today in a world which is de-sacralizing itself and aspires instead to complete secularization,...it is proper to meditate upon the obligation of "Christian" hospitality, which ought to give each one of us the occasion to demonstrate a supernatural faith and a kind of love which is divine rather than merely philanthropic by taking in the guest as if he were Jesus Himself, who lives again in our fellow Human beings".(Badaliya letters #13 and #15).
God's own Name "Allah" in the Basmallah is followed by two valuable descriptive names: Ar-Rahmân, Ar-Rahîm.
The All Compassionate, the All Merciful
"To you who hear me I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you and pray for those who maltreat you.... if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. if you do good to those who do good to you, how can you claim any credit? Sinners do as much.... love your enemy and do good. Lend without expecting repayment, then will your recompense be great. You will rightly be called sons of the Most High, since He Himself is good to the ungrateful and the wicked".
Peace to you.
"... anyone who has heard my words but not put them into practice is like the man who built his house on the ground without any foundation. When the torrent rushed upon it, it immediately fell in and was completely destroyed".