#9 - March 4, 2004

Dear Friends of the Badaliya,

Our Boston Badaliya prayer group will meet at 3pm on Sunday, March 7th in the Catholic Chapel at Brandeis University.Please join us in spirit as we pray for an end to violence in the Middle East and the Holy Land. For those who are praying and fasting in solidarity with the Union of Charles de Foucauld every First Friday, March 5th is the first Friday in Lent as well and invites our prayer for World Peace in a special way.

Last month we began to focus our attention in our Boston Badaliya on Interreligious Dialogue. The December 2003 issue of the Bulletin of the Friends of Louis Massignon in Paris was dedicated to this subject and included a provocative discussion of "dialogue" with its current successes and failures despite good intentions. This article was responded to by several other authors and all included their understanding of the uniqueness of Louis Massignon on this issue. Here are two translations of his writings on dialogue among cultures and between Muslims and Christians:

Reciprocal knowledge and decentering - "We understand the other by mentally substituting ourselves for the other, by entering into the place inhabited by the other, by mirroring the structure of thought in the other within ourselves".

Without relativism or syncretism - "I am not one of those who thinks that we succeed if we look for common comparisons and common denominators... I believe that it is in that which is most authentic in the originality (uniqueness) of each religion that we must try to find convergence".

As each person in our prayer group read aloud what they had found meaningful in their search for understanding and compassion we were struck at how there were thoughts from all three Abrahamic traditions, a reading from Isaiah, a reading from the Vatican II documents, and a reading from Karen Armstrong's "Muhammad: a biography of the Prophet".

In the midst of our Lenten journey we continue our prayer this month holding out hope for peaceful reconciliation and compassionate listening for all our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and the Holy Land. May we always be mindful that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do for God in Christ.

Peace to you.

Some of you who are living in the Boston area may be interested in attending the following symposium on March 27, 2004
"Symposium on Christian Perspectives about Inter-religious Relations"at The Pastoral Institute in Brighton.

Archdiocesan Liaison to the Jewish Community: Rev. David C. Michael
Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
2121 Commonwealth Ave.
Brighton, MA 02135
or email: dmichael@brandeis.edu