January 28,2007.

Dear Friends,

We will gather together for our Badaliya Prayer on Sunday, January 28th 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.

In the last fifteen years of his life, Massignon never ceased to raise his voice in continual condemnation of the injustices in Palestine and the Algerian war. His cry for justice echoed forth from numerous articles written for various French magazines and newspapers, many of which can be found in a collection of Massignon's Minor Works called Opera Minora. He wrote " The Question of Palestine", "Refugees and the Politically Condemned" among many others.

From 1918 until his death in 1962, the destiny of Jerusalem and the Palestinian problem were among Massignon's greatest apostolic pre-occupations. He wore himself out working for reconciliatôn between Jew and Muslim. He always believed that the obligation and the task of mediation to help bring about this reconciliation fell especially upon the Christian Arab minority and then upon all Christians of the world. He suffered terribly when he finally realized that the so-called "Christian" power of the West - including the Americans- had no other intention in mind than the advancement of their own economic and strategic interests in whatever half-hearted moves they made to solve the Palestinan problem. He wrote, " This Holy Land is now not only taken away from the pilgrims but even from many of it's own native inhabitants...I was present in 1917 on Allenby's General Staff, when Jerusalem was liberated....the new dominators and European protectors of Palestine did not take into account the sacred character of the Holy Land".

The problem of Palestine, Massignon always insisted, belongs to the mystery of the story of salvation: Palestine is the land promised to Abraham. "In this Holy Land, which should not be subject to partition by the decisions of the privileged nations, the 'seamless tunic' of world-wide reconciliation must not be auctioned off to the highest bidder, most assuredly not to those who have special reasons for joining together in friendship and peace rather than for hating each other,i.e., the two Semitic peoples, Jews and Arabs, sons of Abraham, along with the Christians, spiritually Semites, all of whom were called upon to renounce the worship of idols....what is so badly needed is the clear confession that, if there is a country where the temporal ought to yield to the spiritual in order to realize our need for international unity, then surely this country is Palestine, which is the only point of impact where the spiritual has intervened into the temporal. Palestine is the geography (for there is indeed a sacred geography) which history has pre-destined to be the Holy Land along with Jerusalem from the time of Abraham".
( Opera Minora p.464-466 in Bassetti-Sani O.F.M. "Louis Massignon: Christian Ecumenist" 1974.)

Our hope lies in the efforts of organizations such as Just Vision whose recent showing of their award winning film Encounter Point is a documentary of the many Israeli and Palestinian oraganizations and individuals working for non-violent reconciliation between these troubled peoples in Israel/Palestine. The film will be shown again in Arlington MA at the Regents Theatre on March 21st and 22nd. From their website www.justvision.org :

The feature documentary, "Encounter Point," (RT: 85 min) with original music by Kareem Roustom, premiered to a sold out audience on April 26, 2006, at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Winner of the 2006 Audience Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Rencontres Film Festival and the Award for Best Musical Score at the Bend Film Festival. Official Selection at Hot Docs, Tribeca Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Jerusalem International Film Festival, Dubai International Film Festival.

Our Israeli/Palestinian/North American/ Brazilian production team includes: the writer and editor of the critically acclaimed documentary, Control Room, Julia Bacha; Director Ronit Avni; renowned cinematographers Mickey Elkeles and Labib Jazmawi (At the Green Line).

Our hope also lies in the smallest effort that each of us makes to open our hearts and minds to our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters. May our Badaliya prayer inspire these small daily movements of the heart. With Massignon as our guide let us take to heart the call to those of us who are Christians to build more bridges to peaceful, non-violent reconciliation.

Peace to you.