#17 - February 6, 2005

Dear Friends of the Badaliya,

Our Boston Badaliya Prayer group will meet at 3pm in the Catholic Chapel on the Brandeis University campus on Sunday, February 6, 2005. Please join us in person or in spirit as we pray for peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.

Compassion, hospitality and the prayer of substitution formed the foundation of Louis Massignon's spirituality. Out of an ever-deepening response to God's call came an increasing compassion that led to the Badaliya prayer of substitution. He wrote,"The Badaliya is suffering the pains of humanity together with those who have no other pitiful companion than us." Inevitably he was drawn to greater and greater engagment with the sufferings of those caught in the turmoil of world events and to social action on their behalf.

In all of his letters to members of the Badaliya Louis Massignon expressed the need to pray for the efforts of different organizations and individuals working towards inter-religious reconciliation and peaceful means of resolving conflicts. In keeping with his vision of Badaliya prayer and his own letters to its members I am including some information and some web sites that may be of interest to you and invite all of us to pray at this gathering for all who are devoting their lives in service to these grass-roots organizations.

Skip Schiel describes himself as "a participatory photographer". His main current project is a photographic examination of conditions in Palestine & Israel (Facts on the Ground). On his web site you will find wonderful photographs and links to many organizations. There is also a 4 part description of the Steps of the Magi, a 10 day walk to Bethehem at Christmas 2004.If you go to Current Journey to Palestine and Isael under Current Projects you can then click on any of the organizations below for more information. He writes,"Since early February 2004 I've been sending letters to organizations our delegation met that might be able to use my volunteered photography. Most promising and exciting of all the responses—Birzeit University where I was based, Friends School in Ramallah which allows me free access to photograph and helps with logistic help and a residence, and Ecumenical Accompaniers for Peace in Palestine & Israel which I've been photographing. Also the Gaza Community Mental Health Center which is doing such courageous and vital work with people suffering from trauma, the American Friends Service Committee, also in Gaza, Holy Land Trust, Christian Peacemakers Team in Hebron, Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, Parents Circle-Families Forum and Rabbis for Human Rights,
also http://teeksaphoto.org/

Through one woman I met at the Catholic Worker House in NYC who has volonteered in Iraq for many months with The Christian Peacemakers Team I was led to the website of a young mother in Baghdad who started a weblog. She writes about her experience living as a young married couple with a 3 year old daughter in Iraq at this time and her point of view, and that of those around her, on current events. Many folks write back to her with comments which you can read and send your own as well.

I was sent the following quote in one of the many responses I have received from folks around the USA to the article on LM that appeared in NCR Dec.17th, an inspiration for our Badaliya prayer:

If any accident happens to one member of our family, the whole family suffers. When an accident happens to a part of our nation, it happens to the whole nation. When an accident happens to a part of the planet Earth it happens to the whole planet, and together we bear it. When we see that their suffering is our own suffering, and their death is our death, we have begun to see the no-self nature. When I light incense and pray for those who died in the tsunami disaster, I see clearly that I am not only praying for those who have died; I am also praying for myself because I, too, am a victim of that earthquake. We ourselves have died, too. There are not just the 155,000 dead. Whenever we love, we see that the person we love is ourselves; and if our loved one dies, we also die. Although we are sitting here, and we have the impression that we are alive, in fact we have also died. What happens to one part of the body happens to the whole body.
The human species and the planet Earth are one body. I have the feeling that our planet Earth is suffering, and this tsunami is the cry of the earth as it writhes in pain: a lament, a cry for help, a warning. We have lived together so long without love and compassion for each other. We destroy each other; we abuse make our mother Earth. So the Earth has turned back on us, has groaned, has suffered. The Earth is the mother of all species. We make each other suffer and we make our mother suffer. These earthquakes are bells of mindfulness. The pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind. We have to see that and wake up.
--Thich Nhat Hanh

The First Friday of the month is February 4th for those who are joining in the fast and prayer for world peace with members from 150 countries of the Union of The Brothers and Sisters of Jesus, Sodalité Charles de Foucauld.

Peace to you.