#16 - January 2, 2004

Dear Friends of the Badaliya,

We will gather in Boston for our January Badaliya prayer on Sunday January 2nd at 3pm. Please join us in person or in spirit as we pray for Peace in the world, especially in the Middle East and the Holy Land.

The Italian Franciscan, Giulio Bassetti-Sani wrote,"In the many years which followed his conversion, Massignon sought not only to live ‘as a guest and hostage' himself within the Islamic community, but also to invite other Christians to join hm in ‘spiritually' participating in the life of the family of the descendants of Ishmael, following the example of St. Francis and Charles de Foucauld. He had the sublime example of the holy martyr of islam, ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, always before him becuase it represented for him a genuine triumph of Christ's grace within Islam, and thus he re-lived, profoundly Christianized and ‘internalized' the true and authentic spiritual values of Islam. ....In genuine Pauline fashion he invited members of the Badaliya movement to become ‘Muslims to the Muslims'.... "

Each of the five pillars of Islam became a way for Massignon to "internalize" aspects of Islam and join with his Muslim friends as a Christian. Prayer, or Salat, is an essential practice five times a day in Islam and perhaps it is there that we can begin our New Year of Badaliya.Our understanding of Intercessory prayer and its relationship to Badaliya (substitution) or abdal in Islam has been a challenge for us from the beginning of our establishing the Badaliya for our time in the USA. Perhaps St. Paul can help us as we struggle to grasp the meaning of Louis Massignon's intense understanding of this call to prayer: "I became all things to all men, in order that I might at least save some".(1 Cor.9:19-22) Massignon wrote: "It is necessary for us to become one with our real brothers just as Christ became one with the Cross. This is the arduous task of the Church for all eternity".

The First Friday falls on January 7th for those who are joining the prayer and fast for World Peace with the Union Sodalité of Charles de Foucauld. Know that your prayers are joined in spirit with folks from 150 countries around the world.

May the New Year 2005 indeed bring Peace and reconciliation to our painfully conflicted world and let it begin with each of us!

Peace to you.