October 21, 2007.

Dear Friends,

We will gather together for our Badaliya Prayer on Sunday October 21,2007 at 3pm at St. Paul's Church in Cambridge, in the small chapel located in the 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 his letters to members of the Badaliya prayer movement Louis Massignon recommends an ancient prayer called the Angelus. This short prayer is a devotion that reminds us of the Incarnation of Jesus. Although the historical origins of this prayer are not clear it is known that in Europe the recitation of three Hail Mary's at the sound of the bell at sunset was in practice in the thirteenth century and recommended to the laity by Pope John XXII in the fourteenth century. The Hail Mary first became known as an antiphon in the monasteries to the Little Office of Our Lady at the beginning of the eleventh century. Just as in the Rosary where the one hundred and fifty psalms recited by the monks were replaced with one hundred and fifty Hail Mary's for the laity, the evening Angelus became the every day prayer for the laity as well. So it was an imitation of the monk's night prayers and also came from the belief that it was in the evening that Our Lady was greeted by the angel at the Incarnation. The custom was to kneel at the sound of the bell and recite the prayer. Once the custom had established itself the morning Angelus also became a popular devotion and, in 1318 in Parma, Italy the Bishop advised all who heard the bells to say three Our Fathers and three Hail Mary's for the preservation of peace, thus it was called "the peace bell". The peace bell at midday was commended by Louis XI of France in 1475 and was associated with the Passion of Christ. In the sixteenth century our modern verses accompanying the Hail Mary's for the Angelus were found in books of devotion with the instructions to honor the Resurrection in the mornings, the Passion at noon and the Incarnation in the eveing since these were the times that correspond with the hours that these great Mysteries were to have occurred. The form of the prayer that we know today dates back to the early 17th century. In the monastery's today the monks and nuns continue to pray the Angelus at noon. In many parts of the world the churches call us to the Angelus by continuing to sound the "peace bells" at noon as well.

In Louis Massignon's lifetime the three Angelus peace bells were a popular devotion and in his book, "The Three Prayers of Abraham", Massignon once again calls upon believers to turn to the ancient prayer of the Angelus. In his chapter on Abraham's Prayer for Sodom, he invites believers to turn to the Angelus in order to "invoke the saints, virgins, martyrs, doctors (of the Church), hermits, and penitents who have had the vocation to pray for the survivors of Sodom. He wrote,"It is permitted [by Rome] to pray the Evening Angelus for all those who sin against love, as long as the two other Angelus' are consecrated to the two other prayers of Abraham; the morning Angelus for Israel and for all those who sin against hope, and the Angelus at noon for Islam and for all those who sin against faith"(p. 54).

On May 2, 1946 the Holy Father Pius XII suggested Massignon begin very discreetly to connect the three Angelus to the Three Prayers of Abraham (p.170)

Massignon wrote, "By praying this way we may discover a therapy....a new way of providing the graces of mercy that the Church can dispense all the way to the human soul". (p.55)

"It is necessary first that we pray and suffer for all - in silence, and on their behalf - in intimate union with Jesus Crucified, in communion with the whole Church, and especially with those solitary and contemplative souls ...isolated stigmatics and empathics to whom God gives the hidden passion to intercede Face to Face, like Abrahm did until the end, until the fire of His justice was lit'.(p.56)

Massignon writes out of his own deep belief in the powerful prayer of the vast Communion of Saints and reminds us of Abraham's persistent prayer for the salvation of the people of Sodom, if there be but ten righteous men in the city. Abraham's persistent approach is a reminder for us of how to pray for the peace and reconciliation of all faith traditions and all nations. In the Angelus we are reminded of how the Virgin Mary became a model for us by offering herself to God in unquestioning obedience, through the Archangel Gabriel and of how we too are called to give birth to the Divine in our world.

Here is the Angelus as it is prayed today:

Verse: The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,
Response: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Verse: Hail Mary, Full of Grace!
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

Response: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Verse: I am the servant of the Lord,
Response: Let it be done to me according to Your word.

Verse: Hail Mary........
Response: Holy Mary.....

Verse: And the Word became flesh
Response: and dwelt among us.

Verse: Hail Mary.....
Response: Holy Mary.....

Verse: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
Response: that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Pour forth we beseech Thee O Lord, thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Your Son was made known by the message of an angel, may, by His suffering and death be led to the glory of His resurrection. Amen.

Peace to you.