November 21, 2010.

Dear Friends,

We will gather together for our Badaliya Prayer on Sunday November 21, 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.

November in the Latin Church calendar is a month of remembrance, thus we have the opportunity to honor those who have gone before us in our families and among our friends and also those blessed souls and saints, both achnowledged and unknown, who have inspired our lives and emcouraged us to grow in holiness. One of the strengths of Louis Massignon's spirituality was his solid engagement with the Catholic understanding of the Communion of Saints. The most remarkable was his relationship with the Sufi saint and martyr, Husayn ibn Mansûr Hallâj. Massignon spent 50 years researching the life and writings of the tenth century Sufi mystic and was convinced that his own conversion experience in Baghdad in 1908, that brought him back to his Christian faith and roots, was in part due to the intercession of al-Hallâj.

Husayn ibn Mansûr Hallâj (857CE -922CE) was born in Iran, Persia and grew up in a neighborhood inclined toward Arab culture. He was named in remembrance of Husayn, the son of Fâtima, the beloved daughter of the Prophet, Mohammad (PBUH). In his many years of research and reflection on the life, writings and theological preaching of the Sufi saint, Massignon saw him as an Islamic moral reformer whose passion for Allah and the Muslim community led to his martyrdom. The parallels in his story with that of the Christian understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus, first for his own Jewish community, and ultimately for all of humanity, inspired Massignon's interpretation of the life of Hallâj: he was a sacrificial victim, a true "Abdâl", a "substitute" in Arabic, for which the Badaliya was named. Al- Hallâj wrote:

"In You, there is an idea that attracts souls to You, and an argument that proves You [your existence] through Yourself. Me, I have a heart that has eyes wide open toward You, and all of that is in Your hand."
(Husayn ibn Mansûr Hallâj Dîwân trans. L. Massignon, Éditions du Seuil. 1955,1981. p. 101)

Massignon put the Badaliya under the veil of Our Lady of Pokrov in his passion for the salvation of Russian Christians during the years of the cold war. On October 11th at 4 am in the year 911, the Mother of God appeared above the people in the crowded Blachernae Church of the Mother of God in Constantinople, during an all night vigil. She had a long veil in her oustretched hands. St. Andrew, the Fool for Christ was standing in the back. He said to his disciple, Epiphanius, "Do you see how the Queen and Lady of all is praying for the whole world?" Epiphanius replied, "Yes, Father. I see it and stand in dread."
( Depicted in an 18th century Russian Icon present at our Badaliya gatherings at St. Pauls.)

On November 13, 1983 the founder of the Carmelite Monastery in Bethlehem, Palestine, Sr. Mariam of Jesus Crucified, was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Massignon knew of her cause as it had been established in 1927. He personally named her the patron saint of the Holy Sites in the Holy Lands. Our Badaliya U.S.A has adopted her as our patron saint.

Another Blessed who was beatified on November 13, 2005 is Massignon's mentor and friend, Blessed Charles de Foucauld. Let us pray that these two holy witnesses for peace and reconcilation in the Muslim,Christian and Jewish world soon be recognized for Sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. Blessed Mariam of Jesus Crucified, pray for us. Blessed Charles de Foucauld, pray for us.

Peace to you.