We will gather together for our Badaliya Prayer on Sunday March 28, 2010 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.
Our gathering together this Passion Sunday to pray the prayer of substitution gives us an opportunity to revisit some of the meaning of this sacrificial prayer that Louis Massignon described. May reflecting on these quotations after hearing the scriptural Passion of our Lord at this Sunday's Mass bring us to ever deeper commitment as contemporary members of the Badaliya.
From Annual Letter #1, 1947.
"[Substitution is realized] by practicing the material and spiritual works of mercy in a certain way each day. "The one who considers the One for whom he works while working, ceases to consider his own works". This is our goal. We have to begin that which we cannot finish, to sow, more than to harvest...."
"[Substitution is realized] by gradually living, starting from the House in Nazareth, the growing "fiat" of Christ and His Passion within us that started with the "fiat" of Mary".
"[Substitution is realized] by admiring Jesus in our brothers and sisters, by loving Him in them, we love them more. To pray for all their ancestors, all past generations, because, for us, every man is the "ambassador" for all his relatives whose destiny enters into his own, and through it, enters into our prayer. And not like a dead weight but like the beginnings of a more beautiful and real future".
Massignon suggests that we must have "An Attitude of Simplicity". He writes: "There is only one love, and it is God Himself, the love of the only One for the only One, of the lover for the beloved, of Jesus for the Father, that He has given to us. We will only have on high, Foucauld said, that which we have given here below. The immortal life of our soul will only be "beatified" if it is totally united from here below in love. Nothing other than the Gift will remain of us, this spirit of life that we will have communicated to our neighbor, to other members of Christ, through our substitution for them, our hospitality to His Body and His Blood, to his Angels and his Saints, and our tenderness toward His Mother".
"[It is] our response of love that shows Islam that the Incarnation has truly taken place, since the Cross shared by us makes us live out of compassion for our brothers and makes our intercession before the Face of God pure".
Massignon writes that we must "Prove to [God] that we desire Him by dying". He writes "If it is true, my God, as You have said it Yourself, that to die proves completely to the friends for whom we die, that we love, let us premeditate together on how to die with Him in order to prove to them how much God desires them. The novitiate for our Vow is to practice tirelessly the industrious patience of love, to search with a contained and discreet fervor for the "fiat", "falyakun", of Mary".
"Let us die to ourselves before this Eucharist of mercy and reconciliation, this morsel of grace without any face, who cast himself in us, this frail offering of an abandonned victim of torture, who leaves us completely free not to follow him to the end, to this consolation, and to this seed of immortal resurrection".
Let us close our prayer as we enter into the holiest week in the Church calendar with Louis Massignon's own prayer for Good Friday written in 1961:
"May the intentions of our fast on [April 2], Good Friday, be truly and fraternally ecumenical, dedicated through substitution to the most abandonned of persons, to the most "underdeveloped", to those who are oppressed by a loveless technology, in order to hand to them the Marian cup of the milk of human kindness". (April 14, 1961 Convocation 74)
May you be blessed in this Easter Season 2010.
Peace to you.