Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas & a Prosperous New Year 2008!

Christmas 2007 is about a Child who healed the sick, fed the hungry, showed compassion, taught that one should lay down his life for friends --- and did so. He also gave answers to basic questions that confront ordinary mortals like us: pain, suffering, loss and death.”

“The Bethlehem story, in Luke’s Gospel, gives us an ‘array of luminous images’. “They Shall Call Him Emmanuel”- a name which means God is with us. ( We see ) “The night sky alight with bright angels, simple shepherds startled from sleep, magi…It is a happening, above all, for the deepest heart.”

“Christmas is not, first of all, a revelation for the intelligence….It is looking at a Son who was born for us, who would die for us, because we mattered to him, because we are infinitely cherished, infinitely loved…At the crib, the first task is to look, and looking to adore. Venite adoremus, the old Latin carol says. Come let us adore him”.

“The hopes and fears of all the years / Are met in thee tonight,” the 1861 (?) carol says of the little town of Bethlehem. Indeed, the unique grace of Christmas is that both sinners and saints can say, together with kings and shepherds: “Let us go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has made known to us.” (Juan Mercado)

A Blessed Christmas and a Prosperous New Year 2007!

Jun Mercado, OMI

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Message of Christmas!

Christmas 2007 is about a Child who healed the sick, fed the hungry, showed compassion, taught that one should lay down his life for friends --- and did so. He also gave answers to basic questions that confront ordinary mortals like us: pain, suffering, loss and death.”

“The Bethlehem story, in Luke’s Gospel, gives us an ‘array of luminous images’. “They Shall Call Him Emmanuel”.( We see ). “The night sky alight with bright angels, simple shepherds startled from sleep, magi…It is a happening, above all, for the deepest heart.”

“Christmas is not, first of all, a revelation for the intelligence….It is looking at a Son who was born for us, who would die for us, because we mattered to him, because we are infinitely cherished, infinitely loved…At the crib, the first task is to look, and looking to adore. Venite adoremus, the old Latin carol says. Come let us adore him”.

“The hopes and fears of all the years / Are met in thee tonight,” the 1861 (?) carol says of the little town of Bethlehem. Indeed, the unique grace of Christmas is that both sinners and saints can say, together with kings and shepherds: “Let us go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has made known to us.”

A Blessed Christmas and a Prosperous New Year 2007!

Eliseo “Jun” Mercado, OMI

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Celebrating Christmas in HOPE...

Hi Folks!
Peace!
Despite the increasing crisis in the world today our theme for our prayer this Christmas season is one of hope and courage. In his second encyclical letter, Pope Benedict XVI addresses our need of HOPE. “Spe salvi facti sumus.” (in faith, we are saved – Romans 8:24) is the beginning statement of the said letter. In fact, to come to know God – the true God - means is to receive hope.

Our remembrance of Christmas – the birth of the Lord who is called Emmanuel which means god is with us – is to receive HOPE. Yes, we are given HOPE by which we can face the challenges’ and the difficulties of life. By hope also we approach each other’s differences and we are able to dialogue both inter and intra-faith communities.

For those that might like to see the recent development to encourage inter-religious dialogue and reconciliation there is the famous Muslim Letter that speaks of the Love of God and Love of neighbor as the common ground for our dialogue – inter and intra-faith communities. The letter and a Reading of the same you can be found at http://www.omigen.org/ipid

Be well!
Eliseo "Jun" Mercado, OMI

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fr. Massignon on Reconciliation...

Fr. Louis Massignon’s clear message to effect peaceful relations and reconciliation with those of other faith traditions is to begin by opening our own minds and hearts to conquer our fear of differences. He spoke often of the need to “cross over” to the “other”, to learn their language, study their beliefs, practices and culture as the beginning of mutual respect and understanding. In the process of learning to truly know others, from the inside out so to speak, we find that our own values and belief systems become more defined and clear. Our faith experience is enhanced rather than diminished. The goal of “substutionary prayer”, of “Badaliyya”, is to see the face of Christ in every human person and learn to love them as Christ loves us.

As Christians we are challenged to overcome centuries of misinformation and prejudice that we have sometimes even unconsciously absorbed. In one of his books the Fransiscan Fr. Giulio Basetti-Sani writes about his own journey of studying the condemning writings of the scholars of his time about Islam and Muhammad and approaching Louis Massignon with those ideas. He wrote:

“Once, when Professor Massignon was in Cairo, I went to see him at the French Institute of Oriental Archeology.... Only someone who has known Massignon can fully imagine his reaction to my ideas. His usual grave expression changed to a smile like the lighting of a lamp and his eyes twinkled. He said, ‘The medieval world taught that Muhammad was a messenger of Satan and that the Allah of the Qur’an was not the God of Abraham. We should not do to others what we would not have them do to us’.

Basetti-Sani quotes much more than this as he describes how, following Massignon’s advice, he began to move in a totally different direction in what became years of Islamic studies. He wrote: “Islam is a mystery linked with the blessing obtained by Abraham from God for his son Ishmael and Ishmael’s progeny. This line of thought, derived from the Bible, is the one to take in order to grasp the significance of Islam.... Before we parted, Massignon gave me two thoughts meant as guidelines in my reorientation, one from St. Augustine, ‘ Love sees with new eyes.’ and the other from St. John of the Cross, ‘ Where there is no love put love, and you will find Love Himself’. It was true, my eyes had seen badly... Later, when my eyes were to see clearly, I would discover in Islam and the Muslims the reflections of the infinite goodness of God”. (From Basetti-Sani.1977. “The Koran In the Light of Christ”)

On the Silence of God...

It is necessary that we find the silence of God not only in ourselves but also in one another. Unless some other person speaks to us in words that spring from God and communicate with the silence of God in our souls, we remain isolated in our own silence, from which God tends to withdraw.

The inner silence depends on a continual crying in the night, a repeated bending over the abyss. If we cling to a silence we think we have found forever, we stop seeking God and the silence goes dead within us. (Thomas Merton)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Short Reflection on Poverty...

The poorest person in a religious community is not necessarily the one who has the fewesat objects assigned for his /her use. Poverty is not merely a matter of having "things". It is an attitude which leads us to renounce some of the advantages which come from the use of things.

A person can possess nothing, but attach great importance to the personal satisfaction and enjoyment he/she wants to get out of things which are common to all.

Often the poorest person in the community is the one who is at everybody else dispostion. He/She can be used by all and never takes time to do anything special for him/herself. (Thomas Merton)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dhikr for the 26th week in ordinary time (C)

Text: "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores" (Luke 16: 19-21).

Meditation: The parable is a strong reminder to us that we cannot continue to dress in purple garments and dine sumptuously without the poor partaking at our table... Beware!

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

1st step: Write the text or Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Substitutionary Prayer"

Hi Folks!
Peace! Continuing our reflect on the call to “substitutionary prayer” we can follow Louis Massignon’s own suggestion to turn to Blessed Charles de Foucauld and Saint Francis of Assisi for inspiration and enlightenment.

At Tamanrasset in the southern Algerian desert Foucauld realized that he needed to know and understand the Touareg people in order to truly live with them. In fact he wanted to assimilate himself into their way of life, in a sense to “become Touareg”. Not only did he allow himself to eat what those to whom he dedicated his life ate but he learned their language as intimately as they knew it, as well as their history, traditions, folklore, poetry and beliefs.”To make oneself understand is the beginning of everything, in order to do something good”, he wrote. “It isn’t enough to pray for the salvation of others, nor even to lovingingly give oneself to them, but to offer oneself body and soul for their souls”.

“This is how Foucauld saw the sacrifice of Jesus at Golgotha; Christ so loved humanity that he offered himself as a voluntary victim for the expiation of the sin of the world. “There is no greater proof of love than to give one’s life for those we love”, He told the apostles at the Last Supper. Substituting himself for humanity, past, present and future, He had reconciled them to God for eternity. Yet the Passion of Christ, the mystery of the economy of Salvation, consumed and carried out once and for all, will last until the end of human history. Thus, if we truly love, only one way offers itself to us: to participate in His redemptive work and accept the sacrifice of ourselves”.

“Brother Charles’ impeccable logic brought him to this conclusion before which all human reason either resists or gives way; Before God, Christians must substitute themselves for others and take the burden of their sin or their blindness onto their own shoulders in order to participate in the liberation of captive souls...”

Brother Charles’ writings are filled with the theology of his time and yet his message remains profoundly revolutionary.By choosing to live as he did he defined and witnessed to a new attitude for Christians in the world. He defined lay Christians as apostles of Christ and demonstrated how they were to be shining witnesses to the Gospel message. He was a pioneer who planted the seeds for a transformation of monastic life as well as lay participation, by remaining paradoxically entirely faithful to the tradition and the Gospel message.

It is clear that those who enter into the Badaliya prayer will be challenged by Brother Charles’ life and witness, and in creating this prayer in 1934 Louis Massignon was presenting a way to rise to that challenge. Our time and our world is both radically different and yet sadly the same. May these reflections serve to aid our prayer together and help us to open our hearts and minds to truly understand those of other faiths, traditions and cultures. May we be guided in planting our own seeds of hope in the world. (Source: Dorothy Buck)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dhikr for the 25th week in ordinary time (C)

Text: Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?" (Luke 6: 9)

Meditation: Jesus is challenging us our values and priority…He reminds us that PERSON comes first…in whatever we do and think… and to prefer to give life and to do good over the restrictive confines of the law…!

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

1st step: Write the text or Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Remembrance for the 24th week in ordinary time (C)

Text: “So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15: 20)

Meditation: The Father shows COMPASSION … RUNS TO MEET THE ERRING SON, EMBRACES HIM AND KISSES HIM… No question asked and NO recrimination and condemnation!

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
1st step: Write the text or Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dhikr for the 22nd week in ordinary time (C)

Text: "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind." (Luke 14: 12-13)

Meditation: The Gospel is a strong challenge and a reminder to us all to ensure that the poor and the hungry do have places at our table!

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

1st step: Write the Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) in your heart.

2nd step: Let the Dhikr remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the Dhikr silently as often as possible...

3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the
Dhikr in your life.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dhikr for the 21st week in ordinary time (C)

Text: “Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” (Luke 13: 23-24)

Meditation: To enter the Kingdom of God is not a question of strength and merit… No one is strong enough…and neither anyone is meritorious enough to win to Kingdom! It is a GIFT… so pray to begin this gift. The Kingdom is God’s gratuitous offer to all…!

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD

1st step: Write the Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) in your heart.
2nd step: Let the Dhikr remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the Dhikr silently as often as possible...
3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the
Dhikr in your life.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Beware of Idolatry...

The Old Testament reminds us that Idolatry makes us as lifeless as the idols that are worshipped...

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
Eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
Noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
Feet, but do not walk;
And they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them are like them;
So are all who trust in them.
(Psalm 115: 4-8)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Experiencing our own "Nothingness"...

What does it mean to know and experience our own "nothingness"? It is
not enough to turn away in disgust from my illusions and faults and
mistakes, to separate myself from them as if they were not, and as if
I were someone other than myself. This kind of :self-annihilation"
is only a worse illusion, it is a pretended humility which, by saying
"I am nothing" I mean in effect " I wish I were not what I am.

To really know our "nothingness" we must also love it. And we cannot
love it unless we see that it is good. And we cannot see that it is
good unless we accept it.


A supernatural experience of our contingency is a humility which loves
and prizes above all else our state of helplessness before God. We
must see and admit that it is all ours and that it is all good: good
in its positive entity since it comes from God.


The proud man/woman loves his/her own illusion and sel-sufficiency.
The spiritually poor loves his/her very insufficiency. The proud
claims honor for having what no one else has. The humble begs for a
share in what everybody else has received. He/She too desires to be
filled to overflowing with the kindness and mercy of God.
(Thomas Merton)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dhikr for the 20th week in ordinary time (C)

Text: "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! (Luke 12: 49-50)

Meditation: Jesus spoke of his own Baptism of fire – his suffering, death and resurrection that other may have life… It is the fire that burns yet purifies. The fire in our life is always the symbol of energy and zeal. Hold on to that fire else we become a "dead man/woman" walking…

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

1st step: Write the text in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.

Friday, August 10, 2007

To Wander in Hope...

To wander in hope, we must walk with people even at times we start off by walking in the wrong direction… Auschwitz is, often, described as the “end of the line”… Yet, even in this hell, there were persons like Edith Stein (St. Theresa Benedicta) who in their utter powerlessness walked around and gave their flickering light showing God's presence that gave hope to his people in their despair.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

People Living in HOPE....

"Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out." (Vaclav Havel)

Hope is the conviction that all that we live for, happiness and sorrow, victory and defeat, will be found to have some sense. Despite the LUNACY of the realities we often find ourselves... life is NOT doomed to absurdity! It is the ultimate and unimaginable victory of MEANING!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Heart of Religion and the Heart of God...

What I should like to talk about has to do more with religion in general than with spirituality in particular: my subject is the heart of religion and the heart of God. I would like to share a story, if this were a sermon, would be absolutely the right one.

Some of you will know "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, a novel about the migration of dispossessed small croppers from the state of Oklahoma to the vineyards of California. Their small and rather meager livelihood has been destroyed by capital financing making for large ranches that dispossessed the intimate peasantry.

They are trekking to a vision of a future in California. In the course of the journey old Grandpa Joad dies – a poor old man, his health undermined by the tribulations of his journey. They have no money for funerals, so they decide to bury him by the wayside. And then it occurs to them that they may be incurring suspicion of some foul play and, wanting to come clean, they say, “Let’s put a little notice on the grave: ‘Old Grandpa Joad died of natural causes. Old, decrepit, sick. His folks buried him.’” And so they get a piece of wood and fix on it their notice. It is all so intensely pathetic.

Travelling with them there is a derelict preacher who has attached himself to their party – a rather faded renegade pastor – and they say to him as a kind of afterthought, and this is the heart of it, “Couldn’t you put somepin [something] on it so that it’ll be religious? A text for example – ‘The Lord is my shepherd’, or maybe a snatch of a hymn – ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus’? Put somepin on it” – the notice that is – “so that it’ll be religious.”

Now, it seems fair to ask, What does that little text add to the integrity, the pathos, the good faith, the poverty, the suffering, the tragedy of that situation? What does it have to add? Is there not something already profoundly religious in all those qualities of good faith and integrity and a certain quiet heroism in the bearing of suffering?

You will all, I think, agree that the text has nothing basically to add to the solid religious quality of the situation and their behavior. But if they had not wanted the text, would they have been that sort of people? The answer surely has to be “No”. It was by association with “the arms of Jesus” or “the Lord is my shepherd”, through the tradition of their family worship that they had come to be that sort of people, wanting to behave with integrity, finding a certain nobility in the midst of poverty and standing in a reverent awe in the presence of their mortality. And in all those ways they are profoundly religious. There is a paradox present. The text that is added is the key to what is already there.

The point of this story is to have us capture the interrelationship between the worship that we bring and the behavior that we come by, or put another way, the heart of God and the heart of the believer. There has always been this interrelation between faith and faithful.

Spirituality is what believers find it and fulfill it to be, but how do we know them as believers except by their belonging to religion? It is like a circle. Come into the religion and you reach those who profess it. Meet those who profess it and you come into the knowledge of their faith. And this, of course, is true about all religions. So the point of the story is to have us think about how religions can fulfil authentic compassion in human society.

Now we come to the verse, in Sura 50 (Surat Qaf) 37: Inna fi dhalika la-dhikra li-man kana lahu qalb aw alqa al-samc wa huwa shahid, which translates: “Here verily is a reminder for him who has a heart, or gives ear with full intelligence” (Pickthall). It could be put into more literary, resonant English as: “A thing to ponder here for whoever has a heart, and who heeds with alert perception.” The passage is clearly talking about (1) a feeling heart, (2) a hearing mind and (3) a present self. These three belong together. But what is the context of “Here is something to reflect upon”? The context is human tragedy. (Kenneth Cragg)

Remembrance Prayer for the 18th week in ordinary time (C)

Dhikr for the 18th week in ordinary time (C)

Text: "Then he said to the crowd, "Take care to guard against all
greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of
possessions." (Luke 12: 15)

Meditation: Often, we measure the person's worth by his/her
possession... We are wrong! The most important is to be rich in what
matters to God...

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

1st step: Write the Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) in your
heart.
2nd step: Let the Dhikr remain always in on your lips and mind -
RECITING the Dhikr silently as often as possible...
3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the
Dhikr in your life.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dhikr for the 17th week in ordinary time (C)

Text: "And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11: 9-10)

Meditation: We need to hold on to our belief… they are the basis of our HOPE and do not tire in praying, asking, seeking and knocking…

Visit
www.badaliyya.blogspot.com
www.omigen.org/ipid
www.scbrc.net

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dhikr for the 16th week in ordinary time (C)

Dhikr for the 16th week of the ordinary year (C)

Text: “There is need only for one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10: 41-41)

Meditation: Like Martha, we are, often, burdened with so many worries… and forget what is very important… to simply accompany someone and listen.

Visit

www.badaliyya.blogspot.com
www.omigen.org/ipid
www.scbrc.net

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
1. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
2. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Remembrance for he 15th week in ordinary time (C)

Dhikr for the 15th week of the ordinary year (C)

Text: "And who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10: 29)

Meditation: The parable of the Good Samaritan challenges us to “REVISE” our understanding of neighbor… The person in need is a neighbor to us… and people who need us most are our special neighbor…

Visit
www.badaliyya.blogspot.com
www.omigen.org/ipid
www.scbrc.net

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1.Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2.Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3.Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Silence of God...

It is necessary that we find the silence of God not only in ourselves but also in one another. Unless some other person speaks to us in words that spring from God and communicate with the silence of God in our souls, we remain isolated in our own silence from which God tends to withdraw. For inner silence depends on a continual seeking, a continual crying in the night, a repeated bending over the abyss.

If we cling to a silence we think we have found forever, we stop seeking God and the silence goes dead within us. A silence in which God is no longer sought ceases to speak to Him. A silence from which God does not seem to be absent, dangerously threatens God's continued presence. For God is found when He is sought and when He is no longer sought God escapes us.

He is heard only when we hope to hear Him, and if, thinking our hope to be fulfilled, we cease to speak to be vivid and becomes dead, even though we recharge it with the echo of our own emotional noise. (Thomas Merton)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Spirituality & Human Feelings...

If we are without human feelings we cannot love God in the way which we are meant to love Him - as human beings. If we do not respond to human affection we cannot be loved by God in the way in which He has willed to love us - with the HEART of Jesus -a Human Person who is God - the Son of God and the annointed Christ. (Thomas Merton)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Remembrance Prayer for the 13th week in ordinary time (C)

Text: On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, 53 but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" 55 Jesus turned and rebuked them. (Luke 9: 52-55)

Meditation: We do have prejudices and pre-judgment… The challenge of the Gospel is the question whether we can rise above our prejudices and be open to see and begin to understand with a “different eye”… Often we behave like the disciples – always ready to call down fire from heaven to consume those who are “different”…

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (Dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Many Ways of Remembrance of God...

The first stage of Dhikr is the Remembrance of God in the utterance. This is called as the dhikr of the tongue.

The second stage is the dhikr of the heart. It consists in meditation and reflection on the text that point to God and His attributes.

The Dhikr both in the tongue and the in the heart will lead to the dhikr of the limbs or righteous life and good works. Through the praxis of the dhikr leads to the immersion of the “murid” (disciple) in a life of total abandon to God and his divine will.

It is reported from some of the “Knowers” of God that dhikr has seven aspects:

1. Dhikr of the eyes, which consists in weeping (buka');
2. Dhikr of the ears, which consists in listening (isgha');
3. Dhikr of the tongue, which consists in praise (thana');
4. Dhikr of the hands, which consists in giving (`ata');
5. Dhikr of the body, which consists in loyalty (wafa');
6. Dhikr of the heart, which consists in fear and hope (kawf wa raja');
7. Dhikr of the spirit, which consists of utter submission and acceptance (taslim wa rida')."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On Temperament...

Temperament does not predestine one person to sanctity and another to reprobation. All temperaments can serve as the material for ruin or for salvation. We must learn to see that our temperament is a gift from God, a talent with which we must trade until he comes.

It does not matter how poor or how difficult a temperament we may be endowed with. If we make good use of what we have, if we make it serve our good desires, we can do better than another who merely serves his/her temperament instead of making it serve him/her. (Thomas Merton)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Spirituality & Reality...

There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us. When our life feeds on unreality, it must starve. It must therefore die. There is no greater misery than to mistake this fruitless death for the true, fruitful and sacrificial "death" by which we enter into life.

The death by which we enter into life is not an escape from reality, but a complete gift of ourselves which involves a total commitment to reality. It begins by renouncing the illusory reality which created things acquire when they are seen only in their relation to our own selfish interest. (Thomas Merton)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dhikr for the 12th week of the ordinary time (C) & Feast of John the Baptist

Text: “Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said in reply, The Messiah of God." (Luke 9: 20)

Meditation: The issue at stake is the question: Who Jesus truly is in our life...? Do we truly TRUST GOD? Storm, pains, joy and sorrows do come our way… and as we journey through life we slowly know that God is with us… But in crucial moments of life… do we truly believe and trust…?

Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist - Feast

Text: “All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, what, then, this child will be for surely the hand of the Lord was with him.” (Luke 1: 66)

Meditation: We need to live and pray the make sure that the hand of Lord is with us, too…

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dhikr for the 11th week in ordinary time (C)

Text: “So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." (Luke 7: 47)

Meditation: The experience of God’s generosity, often, becomes the measure of our love and generosity… The woman in the Gospel is a witness of that great compassion of God and response of great LOVE!

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage that interprets one’s life.

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Meister Eckhart (1260-1329)

APPREHEND GOD in all things,
for God is in all things.

Every single creature is full of God
and is a book about God.

Every creature is a word of God.

If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature--
even a caterpillar--
I would never have to prepare a sermon.
So full of God is every creature.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Exploring the Meaning of Compassion in our Lives...

The theme of "compassion" is central to Massignon's understanding of the Badaliyya and substitution as a call to intercessory prayer, action and inter-religious relationship. In his twenties, in 1908, Massignon had a profound experience of what he later described as "God breaking into his life" and as his "conversion experience". From this beginning he recognized the compassionate caring and prayer for him by others, including Charles de Foucauld and the Muslim Alussy family in Baghdad. Deeply affected by his correspondence with Foucauld, his understanding of compassion became a center piece of his spirituality and a vital component of his experience of authentic relationship with God and others. As we explore the meaning of compassion in our lives, and pray with and for those suffering in our world, hear the words of Louis Massignon:

"As long as God leaves us absorbed in our own suffering we remain sterile, nailed to ourselves. As soon as compassion brings us beyond, to another's suffering other than our own, we enter into the science of compassion experientially, we discover wisdom in it; in the immortal company of all creatures purified by angelic and human trial we glimpse the joy of tomorrow through the pain of today".

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dhikr for Corpus Christi Sunday (C)

“Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.” (Luke 9:16-17)

The miracle of the Eucharist is the call and the empowerment to break bread with people who have none… there is enough and in fact MORE…. only if we learn to share and make our table more inclusive!

Visit

www.badaliyya.blogspot.com
www.omigen.org/ipid
http:scbrc.net

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…

2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.

3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Badaliyya Prayer Circle based on the Tradition of Fr. Louis Massignon...

Ciao Friends and Partners!

Peace! There are six elements that are of crucial importance in the Badaliyya Circle. These are: CHARITY, FIGURE OF ABRAHAM, RANSOM/SUBSTITUTION,WITNESS, HOSPITALITY and DHIKR.

1. Charity. It is an active and sensitive charity. Solidarity understood as the ability to suffer with those who suffer injustice. It is an attempt to liberate … at least to know how to protest with sorrow. It is to accompany the poor with help and sympathy. Charity is shown with great delicate respect to a person before many and varied religious option.

2. The Figure of Abraham. The figure of Abraham is a mystery of election and exclusion. Is it also a mystery of acceptance and a mystery of rejection? Ismael vs. Israel, David and Paul… Hadith has it: “No one is truly a believer until one prefers not for his brother what one prefers for himself.”

3. The reality of being a Badal – Substitution. Louis Massignon had “discovered” the reality of BADAL – Substitution for the reparation of injustices and for witnessing to the poor and victims of injustices. Substitution demands an offer of the total self – similar to the test of fire. The witness “par excellence” is the one who does complete or offered as a total ransom that which is lacking in truth that God knows… Massignon found this in the life and martyrdom of Husayn at Kerbala in the Shi’a Theology. Husayn is the vivification of the mystery of redemption.

• The Ram in place of Isaac
• The Paschal Lamb for the first born of Israel
• The tribe of Levi for the nation of Israel
• Jesus for humanity.

Examples used by Fr. Louis Massignon…

• The demand on the part of Christians at Najran
• The offer of St. Francis of Assisi at Damietta
• The Desire of St. Raymund of Lull
• The acceptance of Louis Massignon & Charles de Foucauld, mystically; to become Badal…

5. Hospitality as the Value Lived by Badal… Louis Massignon discovered hospitality when wounded in battle and cared for by Muslims. “I had been saved in the Muslim land by the virtue of the obligation of sanctuary lived heroically by my Muslim hosts notwithstanding the espionage and betrayal that they denounced before me.” He discovered that in Islam the priority of sanctuary is over the obligation of the just war. The praxis of hospitality made Massignon understand the sense of Abrahamic faith – communicated not by logic but by living intuition emerging from a life lived in their midst. “I share the trust of the Muslims in the God of hospitality.” The hospitality of Abraham is the sign that announces the final end of gathering all nations. The host is God’s envoy. He is the witness – person that welcomes strangers, heals the sick, clothes the naked…

6. The Person in Prayer (through Remembrance - DHIKR). To live in God's presence by remembering him always through our lips, mind, hands and heart.

Eliseo “Jun” Mercado, OMI
Badaliyya – Philippines
Jun.mercado@gmail.com

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dhikr for Trinity Sunday (C)

“Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that the Spirit will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16: 15)

Trinity Sunday reminds us of the COMMUNITY in the ONE God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is mystery that we desire to become and be witnesses on the basis of our baptism – regardless of color, race, belief, language and gender?

Visit

www.badaliyya.blogspot.com
www.omigen.org/ipid
http://scbrc.net

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Badaliyya Remembrance Prayer...

The Badaliyya Remembrance Prayer is based on a vision of prayer network - praying in concert around the world. As the Header tells it the Badaliyya prayer has as it's ground the spiritual call to "substitution", that is, to offer one’s life through prayer and action to the reconciliation of the three religions that find their commonality in Abraham.

We discover the meaning of offering ourselves in the concrete way for the well-being, even the salvation, of those of other faith traditions. It is clear that this is not an easily understood path and can only be encouraged in the context of our world today and its needs. In the words of Blessed Charles de Foucauld: "Every Christian must look on every human being as a beloved brother or sister. Christians have the attitudes of Jesus' own heart toward every human being".

Dhikr for Pentecost Week

Text: “Jesus breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (John 20: 22-23)

Meditation: We have not received the spirit of slavery and live in fear, but the spirit of courage that empowers us to call God – Abba (Father)!

Visit the following web sites

www.badaliyya.blogspot.com
www.omigen.org/ipid
http://scbrc.net

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2.Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Impunity's Limits - Remembering the "Desaparacidos"...

by Juan L. Mercado (Phil Daily Inquirer & Cebu Daily News 22 May 07 )

“All nations are constructed on the basis of great rememberings and great forgettings,” Ernest Renan wrote. Is today’s frenzy over election results, actual or fudged, mutating into amnesia that smothers other issues?

Impunity for crime here drives parents to “wear down the stones of public squares” in the words of a Honduran mother, searching for her abducted son. A recent Inquirer photo shows the late press freedom advocate Jose Burgos Jr’s widow : Edith. She stares at a dumped corpse in a macabre ritual mothers of "desaparecidos" agonize through.

“No,” Edith says, the article reports. It’s not the body of her third child: 36-year old agriculturist Jonas.. In a Quezon City mall, burly men bundled Jayjay into a car traced to the 56th Infantry Battalion. Jayjay has not been seen or heard from since.

Only motorcycle keys were left of Redemptorist Father Rosaleo “Rudy” Romano, abducted by Marcos agents in Cebu July 1985. Olongapo publisher Romeo Legaspi disappeared in January 1993. Sto. Tomas students were among those who vanished in paranoid communist progroms. Muslim community leader Datu Abdullah Sadurah Alah disappeared. And kidnapped UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan have never surfaced.

Abductors, meanwhile, loll in impunity. In a Mother’s Day gathering of desapaercido parents, at Quezon City ’s Good Shepherd convent, Edith said: “I have forgiven my son’s abductors, his torturers, and even their Commander in Chief. If we accept what has happened, and forgive the wrong done us, the dawn will come early”…”

Did the "capo di tutti capi" listen? “The weak can never forgive,” Asian statesman Mahatma Ghandi once said. “Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong…( Even when violence appears ) to do good, the good is only temporary. The evil it does is permanent…”

Forgiveness, however, does not extinguish accountability. “Men are unable to forgive what they can not punish” Hannah Arendt, stresses in her essay on Nazi terror.

That’s precisely the point of "Let the Stones Cry Out”. Published by Protestant National Council of Churches here, this 83-page report documents 836 politically motivated killings since 2001, Most remain unsolved .After the Palm Sunday killing of Indonesian priest Fr. Franciskus Madhu, SVD, in Kalinga, Catholic bishop Prudencio Andaya asked: . “Perhaps, we’ve been too silent for a long time, afraid to speak out against all killings in the past that we tolerated more killings to happen! "

A culture of impunity -- where traitor, abductor or torturer go free -- does not emerge full-blown over night. It builds up incrementally, stoked by official support, tolerance and silence. “A man begins to die the moment he remains silent about things that matter,” Martin Luther King warned.

The Philippines waffled on who collaborated with World War II Japanese occupiers, historian Frank Golay notes.This blurred the difference between Quislings and resistance fighters.

Under Marcos’ dictatorship, the Philippines “became a gulag of safe houses where members of the Armed Forces…were responsible for acts of unusual brutality,” torturing over 35,000 men and women,. Amnesty International noted. But those who tortured and salvaged bluffed and threatened their way into first de facto, then legalized, impunity.

“Policemen and soldiers who tortured and salvaged are still among us,” sociologist John Carroll, SJ noted in his 2002 paper: “A Nation In Denial”. Some were elected to national office. Little has been done to “uncover the facts, give the nameless dead their true names and decent burials”, much less identify, and prosecute perpetrators. “Unless the nation rises to vindicate it’s common conscience, it may be condemned to wander forever in the wilderness of valueless power plays among the elite.”

That has come to pass in today’s generation of abductors and killers, whether as vigilantes in Cebu City , rouge military bands or communist executioners..

South Africa ’s truth commission sought confession to shape collective memory. Greece prosecuted torturers as ‘national catharisis”. Guatemala , where 100,000 were salvaged. launched a project to “recover historic memory”.

By contrast, “the Philippines stretched impunity to it’s limits…by trying to forget it’s authoritarian past,” writes Alfred McCoy in “Closer Than Brothers” ( Yale University) “This evasion transformed torturers into heroes…Remembering became stigmatized as subversive...and politics emerged with the lingering paralysis of collective trauma”

Do parents of our desapercidos foreshadow a Philippine version of Argentinian mothers who turned Plaza de Mayo into a worldwide scream of protest against abduction of their children?.

Perhaps not – for the moment. In eight years, 30,000 individuals disappeared in Argentina . We’ve not reached the grim benchmark that Inquirer’s Michael Tan recalled : chiquitos desaparecidos : children given away, once their “disappeared” mothers, who gave birth in detention centers, were salvaged.

But the perception spreads that to survive politically, this regime would not think twice to expand further today’s impunity. How wretched the country where tenure of public office compels mothers, like Edith Burgos, to say: “I will continue searching for my son.”

Donde estas, Roger? Donde estan? “Where are you, Roger? Where are they?” cried Elvia Cristina de Gonzales of Honduras , in a poem, after her 24-year old son disappeared. In today’s Philippines , even “the stones cry out,” the same question. ####

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Mystical Ladder of Love...

(The Dark Night, Book 2, Chapters 19 & 20)

Step One: Longing for God
• An “ache” within… a “sickness” at heart…
• Nothing satisfies… a feeling of “emptiness…
• Getting aware of our “foolish” pursuits…
• Acknowledging our limitations, weaknesses…
• Begin seeking “another” way…

In Ps. 119: 81, David gave us the expression as RELEASE FROM SIN, FOR FORGIVENESS & REDEMPTION. The crisis is an opportunity to let go of our idols… This is the first rung of the ladder…

Step Two: Searching for the Beloved without Ceasing…
• Passion for repentance…
• Searches for paths that lead to the beloved…
• Attentive to the epiphany of the Lord…
• Centering all care on the beloved…
• The process of purification begins…

“In all his thoughts, he turns immediately to the beloved; in all converse and business he at once speaks about the beloved; when eating, sleeping, keeping vigil, or doing anything else, he centers all his care on the beloved…” (DN II:19,2)

Step Three: Performing Good Works with Fervor…
• Contemplation results in an outflow of charity in good works…
• Care for others…
• Generosity to share…

St. John cited the example of Jacob who served the Yahweh for seven years more than the seven he had already served – all because of love and an unbreakable promise to obey God’s call (Gn. 29: 20,30).

Step Four: Pursuing God with or without Consolation…
• Being accustomed to suffering for the sake of Christ…
• “Love makes the heaviest burden light” (St. Augustine)…
• Developing a sense of equanimity, neither seeking consolation nor trying to escape desolation…
• Search for the divine pleasing… doing what is pleasing to God… no matter the cost.

The example cited by St. John is the Visitation narrative. The child in her womb leapt for joy (Lk. 1: 39-45).

Step Five: Ascending Higher with Incessant Hunger…
• Feeing of longing that is almost overwhelming…
• Impatience grows…as longing becomes intense….
• Hunger and Thirst for the Beloved…

Like the Psalmist we long to dwell in the house of the Lord…(Ps. 84: 2-4).

Step Six: Running Swiftly to God…
• Stretching towards the finish line…
• Renewing our strength and ascending on eagle’s wings (Is. 40:31)
• Like a deer racing toward a flowing spring (Ps. 42: 2-3).

St. John attributes the swiftness to reasons… 1st to dramatic increase in self-giving or charity and second to the process of purification…

Step Seven: Moving Upward with Ardent Boldness…
• St. Paul says that Love knows no bounds: it believes in, hopes for, and endures all things (Cor. 13: 17).
• Moses begged God to either forgive the Israelites for their iniquity or to strike his name from the book of life (Ex. 32:32).
• Abraham also bargained with God with boldness to save the city (Gn 18: 23-32)

This entails at one and the same time, maintaining holy boldness while conserving our humility…

Step Eight: Holding on to the Beloved…
• Communion is established…
• Reformation… on going formation … transformation

Step Nine: Burning Gently in God…
• Burning in love is re-creative…
• It wounds tenderly…
• The fire in one’s heart at Pentecost…

We are on fire but are not consumed physically…

Step Ten: Seeing God Clearly…
• Blessed “sight”… Blessed are the pure… they shall see God.
• Being in communion with God…
• Being in the likeness of God…

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dhikr for the Ascension Week (C)

Text: “And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24: 46-48)

Meditation: We are the WITNESSES of repentance and the forgiveness of sins…

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Prophets for our Time: Are We Listening>

by Dorothy C.Buck

When I think of Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Muhammad, the ancient Hebrew prophets, Abraham, Elijah, Moses then John the Baptist and Jesus, in fact the religious reformers and visionaries of all cultures and traditions in every age, one word overshadows all else.

They knew how to listen, first to God, then to the voices of others in the world around them. As Christians we talk of God “calling” us into relationship, of the prophets being “called” to speak publicly for God, to challenge and confront the ways that God's voice was not being heard. In the Gospel according to Matthew John the Baptist is heard quoting the major Hebrew prophet Isaiah, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! ...A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” (Matthew 3:2, Isaiah 40:3)

Unless we listen to the prophets among us we are likely to wander farther and farther away from the kingdom of God's love into a maze of tempting cultural values and materialistic idols. We hear competing voices inundating our TV programs enticing us with more and more “things” we must have and that we are told will make us “happy”. Even cigarettes and an SUV are claimed to fulfill our longings for love and companionship, and more and more credit debt is the capitalistic means of achieving the successful consumer lifestyle that feeds our economy, but not our souls.

We have ample voices throughout our short history as a country who has warned us of the dangers of not heeding the call of the poor, of not feeding the hungry, offering a drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, and welcoming the strangers in our midst. Now we are challenged, almost beyond our capacity to respond, by the fear of terrorist attacks and the distrust and hatred felt towards this country in many parts of the world. Are we listening?
(Source: Badaliyya USA)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Hiking Prayer

Divine Master of all Creation
Grant me the ability to be alone.

May it be my custom to go outdoors each day
Among the trees and grass, among all living things.

And there may I be alone, and enter into prayer,
To talk with the one to whom I belong.

May I express there everything in my heart,
And may all the foliage of the field
(All grasses, trees, and plants).

May they all awake at my coming,
To send the powers of their life into the words of my prayer
So that my prayer and speech are made whole
Through the life and the spirit of all growing things,
Which are made as one by their transcendent source.
(Source: Catholic-Environmental Justice)

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Spirituality of a Great Proponent of Social Justice...

Message of radical French priest still challenges church
By Ecumenical News International
3 May 2007

The thoughts of Abbé Pierre, a French Roman Catholic priest who championed the homeless and the destitute and was revered in his home country, will now be available in English, following his death in January 2007 - writes Stephen Brown of ENI.

"Abbé Pierre is well-known in the French, Spanish and Italian speaking worlds, but he is much less well-known in the English speaking world," said the Rev. William McComish, the former dean of the Protestant St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva. McComish translated Abbé Pierre's final book, "Why, oh why, my God?", from French with his wife, Carolyn.

The French priest was born Henri Grouès in 1912 to a middle class family in Lyon. During the Second World War he was a resistance fighter and took the name Abbé Pierre - Abbé is a traditional French title for a priest. After the war, he set up his Companions of Emmaus movement for the homeless, and the group now works in more than 50 countries.

"Sadly, I think the Emmaus community has a future in this society, divided as it is between rich and poor," said McComish, at the launch of the book in Geneva on 30 April.

Abbé Pierre became a household name to many French people with his black beret and white beard, and was frequently voted France's most popular man ahead even of personalities like football star Zinedine Zidane. He used his fame to challenge political leaders about homelessness.

The book, whose French title is "Mon Dieu ... Pourquoi?", is a series of meditations by the priest on Christian faith recorded by French journalist Frédéric Lenoir.

It shows Abbé Pierre to have been out of step with several positions of the Catholic Church. In the book the priest says he supports the abolition of obligatory celibacy for priests and sees no theological obstacle to the ordination of women. He also confessed that he had "given in ... occasionally" to sexual desire.

Still, noted McComish, "This is the book of someone who was a devout member of the Roman Catholic Church."

McComish recalled that he invited the French priest to take part in a service at St Pierre Cathedral, when Abbé Pierre already used a wheelchair. The priest was held upright by a rabbi and a leader in the local mosque as he addressed the congregation.

"He was so practical. He had this attitude totally stripped of any pretension," said McComish, who first met Abbé Pierre about 15 years ago and is now active in the work of the Emmaus community foundation in Geneva.

The book has been published by the World Council of Churches in its "Risk" book series.

"We are very proud to bringing out this book," said the Rev. Theodore Gill, senior editor of WCC Publications. "We tend to get bogged down in all kinds of institutions. The 'Risk' book series tries to look beyond that to discover the Gospel."

"Why, oh why, my God? Meditations on Christian faith and the meaning of life", Abbé Pierre/Frédéric Lenoir, WCC Publications, 2007.

[With grateful acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of European Churches]

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dhikr for the 3rd week of Easter (C)

Dhikr for the 3rd week of Easter (C)

Text: “Jesus said to them, ‘have you caught anything to eat?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ So he said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.’ So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.” (John 21: 5-6)

Meditation: We, too, are asked to ‘cast our net…’ Have the courage to do so… even it may seem futile.

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dhikr for the 2nd week of Easter (C)

Text: “Jesus said to him, ‘Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed’." (John 20: 29)

Meditation: To believe is a grace from God… But people see the Lord – Risen and at work in the concrete lives and works of Christians. May we never fail to be witnesses of the Risen Lord …

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…

2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.

3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Remembrance Prayer for Easter

Ciao Folks!

The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!

On Easter Monday I will be flying to Yei , then onward to Rumbek stay overnight there and hoping to catch a UN plane to Wau - All the said Dioceses are in South Sudan.

Earlier on I stayed in Rumbek for ten days for a Justice & Peace Training Workshop for the whole South Sudan. It was HOOOOT and DRY in Rumbek!

In Wau, the Health Department will conduct a Workshop for health workers - sponsored by Misereor. I will try to share some tips on alternative medicine, including my latest training on Pranic Healing. Wau is just like Rumbek....!

I will return to Nairobi on the 17th April. Beginning Holy Thursday until the 17th, I will have NO access to internet...

Wishing you all a Blessed Easter!

Bapa
-----
Dhikr for Easter

Text: "They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, 'Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day'." (Luke 24: 5-7)

Meditation: Easter is a great remembrance of the God who is alive! Why do we keep seeking for the living one among the dead? The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!

Remembrance Prayer is a SIMPLE METHOD...

1st step: Write the TEXT in your heart.

2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...

3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life

Monday, April 02, 2007

Dhikr for the Holy Week (C)

Text: “When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it (again) until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.’" (Luke 22: 14-16)

Meditation: The Holy Week Celebration, specifically the Triduum is our unique way “eating the Passover” with the Lord. It is our journey with the Lord as we celebrate his suffering, death and resurrection – hoping that we, too, shall rise with him in the fullness of life.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Dhikr for the 5th week of Lent (C)

Text: Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more." (Luke 8: 10-11)

Meditation: We, too, are fast in condemning others, yet we are not actually sinless… Jesus is showing us the way, that is, NOT TO CONDEMN…!

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Friday, March 16, 2007

Remembrance Prayer for the 4th week of Lent (C)

Remembrance for the 4th week of Lent (C)

Text: I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers." Luke 15: 18-19)

Meditation: We, too, need to get up and go back the Father and say to him, “ we have sinned against heaven and against you…”

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Superiors-General Call Religious to Pray for Peace...

ROME, MARCH 14, 2007 - Superiors-general of religious institutes are calling on congregations to observe March 30 as a day of prayer and fasting for peace.

The International Union of Superiors General made the appeal "to participate in a day of prayer and fasting for an end to violence and war in Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Northern Uganda, Nepal, Colombia, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and any place in the world where discord and division reign."

The convocation uses words from Pope John Paul II's 2002 Message for World Day of Peace: "Precisely for this reason, prayer for peace is not an afterthought to the work of peace. It is the very essence of building the peace of order, justice and freedom."

The superiors-general add: "We think that setting aside one day during Lent to pray together, as members of religious congregations, for peace on earth could have a powerful effect on our world.

(Source: Zenit News)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Dhikr for the 2nd week of Lent (C)

Text: “Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘this is my chosen Son; listen to him’.” (Luke 9: 35)

Meditation: Lent is a season to experience our own transfiguration and to believe and hear the words that we, too, are God’s beloved sons and daughters…

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Language of Power vs. Language of Dialogue...

The world speaks a language that often characterized by power relations and domination. This language divides, separates, discriminates and oppresses peoples. There is, yet another language that people now long to speak. This is the language of dialogue. Here we are speaking of specific dialogue, an inter-religious dialogue where we come and meet as persons of faith and identified with a religious community. Inter-religious dialogue is relatively new in our contemporary world. There are no ready-made rules on how to conduct this kind of dialogue yet there are experiences that may guide and help us as we continue to journey on this unfamiliar and still largely un-charted road.

The first lesson in inter-religious dialogue is the honest and sincere openness to understand and grow in our perception of realities and the “other” and then the willingness to act accordingly. Often time, we were schooled to define realties and the “other” on our terms and language. We engage in an inter-religious dialogue so that we can learn, grow and understand what my dialogue partner believes and cherishes - their fears and aspirations.

The second lesson is the recognition and respect that each partner in dialogue shows in the articulation and self-definition as well as the meaning of belonging to a faith-community.

The communication and self-revelation take place in an environment of TRUST and genuine search for common grounds of fellowship while respecting our diversities and integrity of our faith traditions.

These common grounds are discovered in our faith commitments resulting from our critique of the earth and the relationships between and among peoples, communities and nations. Partners in dialogue become aware of being “stakeholders” as well as participants in the drama and tragedies of communities that we are. In other circle, this level of dialogue is called “dialogue of action”.

(Eliseo “Jun” Mercado, OMI – Badaliyya Philippines)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Journey in Prayer for Peace....

Hello Folks,

Greetings of Peace!

An invitation to JOURNEY IN PRAYER for peace through Lent . . .

"I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

I have adapted a series of Lenten Reflections by the Mennonite Central Committee for “A Fast for Peace through Lent” into A Journey in Prayer for Peace through Lent…

Bapa (OMI-IPID)

First Reflection: Whom Shall I Fear?
The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
(Psalm 27:1)

It is incredible how much we are obsessed with death. We create instruments of war and spend millions of dollars to keep people obsessed with the possibility of death. This project of death has great power over this world.

But throughout the Gospels we repeatedly hear, “Don’t be afraid.” This is what the angels say to the women at the tomb. This is the Lord’s message to the disciples, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Fear does not come from God. God is a God of love. You need to resist this project of death because my project is a project of life.”

One thing I ask of the Lord…that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling. (Psalm 27:4-5)

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” Peace is a central theme in the message of Jesus’ gospel. Sometimes we think that we can have peace with God and dwell in God’s household even if we are at war with our fellow human beings. Yet according to the gospel, non-violence should be the distinctive feature marking the children of the God of peace.

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)

We see the goodness of God in the people around us. Community pulls us out of fear. Community is the place where we can unite ourselves and forgive each other, where those who are tired and weak can find rest. We are not God, but we can mediate God’s limitless love to others. Community is the place from which we can announce the good news – "Don't be afraid." Jesus is resurrected, and with him, our hope and redemption.

(Adapted from a sermon by Alix Lozan, the Director of the Colombian Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Vice-President of the Colombian Mennonite Church.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dhikr for the 1st week of Lent (C)

Dhikr for the 1st week of Lent (C)

Text: Jesus said to him in reply, "It also says, 'You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'" (Luke 4: 12)

Meditation: The challenge of the Gospel is to acknowledge our limitations and weaknesses… and NOT to test God!

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dhikr for the 7th week in ordinary time (C)

Text: “To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person, who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. (Luke 6:29)

Meditation: Offering the other cheek and giving our tunic, as well, are Christian imperatives that we often ignore… Aren’t we afraid of this radical requirement in the following of Jesus?

Visit: www.omigen.org/ipid

www.omigen.org/jpic



DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

1st step: Write the Dhikr in your heart.

2nd step: Let the Dhikr remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the dihkr silently as often as possible...

3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the Dhikr in your life.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Dhikr for the 6th week in ordinary time (C)

Text: Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all. (Luke 6:19)

Meditation: There is that POWER coming from the Lord that heals and restores… Let us, then, go to the Lord and “touch” him…

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

In front of the Oldest Mosque in Pattani with the local Imam...

Dialogue with the Future Muslim Mullahs of Pattani, Thailand in Friendship...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Be Witnesses of peace, Pope Tells Youth...

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 7, 2007.- Benedict XVI invited young people to be witnesses of nonviolence.

On taking leave of the crowds gathered in Paul VI Hall for today's general audience, the Pope addressed a special greeting to young people, the sick and newlyweds.

"Dear young people, be everywhere witnesses of nonviolence and peace," the Holy Father said. "This is important precisely today, and with this generous commitment, you will contribute to build a better future for all."

Then, addressing the sick, the Pontiff said: "With your sufferings, feel that you are 'collaborators' of Christ in his suffering, who bears the pain of the world and precisely in this way gives us life and joy."

Finally, Benedict XVI exhorted the newlyweds, some of whom were wearing their wedding garments, "to build your happiness day after day, as St. Paul exhorts, with the joy of hope; patient in tribulation; constant in prayer; contributing to the needs of the brethren." (Source: Zenit News)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Discovery of Love...

Papal Message for 22nd Youth Day
"A 'Discovery' of Love"

"Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another" (Jn 13:34)

My dear young friends,

On the occasion of the 22nd World Youth Day that will be celebrated in the dioceses on Palm Sunday, I would like to propose for your meditation the words of Jesus: "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another" (Jn 13:34).

Is it possible to love?

Everybody feels the longing to love and to be loved. Yet, how difficult it is to love, and how many mistakes and failures have to be reckoned with in love! There are those who even come to doubt that love is possible. But if emotional delusions or lack of affection can cause us to think that love is utopian, an impossible dream, should we then become resigned? No! Love is possible, and the purpose of my message is to help reawaken in each one of you -- you who are the future and hope of humanity --, trust in a love that is true, faithful and strong; a love that generates peace and joy; a love that binds people together and allows them to feel free in respect for one another. Let us now go on a journey together in three stages, as we embark on a "discovery" of love.

God, the source of love

The first stage concerns the source of true love. There is only one source, and that is God. Saint John makes this clear when he declares that "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8,16). He was not simply saying that God loves us, but that the very being of God is love. Here we find ourselves before the most dazzling revelation of the source of love, the mystery of the Trinity: in God, one and triune, there is an everlasting exchange of love between the persons of the Father and the Son, and this love is not an energy or a sentiment, but it is a person; it is the Holy Spirit.

The Cross of Christ fully reveals the love of God

How is God-Love revealed to us? We have now reached the second stage of our journey. Even though the signs of divine love are already clearly present in creation, the full revelation of the intimate mystery of God came to us through the Incarnation when God himself became man. In Christ, true God and true Man, we have come to know love in all its magnitude.

In fact, as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus caritas est, "the real novelty of the New Testament lies not so much in new ideas as in the figure of Christ himself, who gives flesh and blood to those concepts -- an unprecedented realism" (n. 12). The manifestation of divine love is total and perfect in the Cross where, we are told by Saint Paul, "God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us" (Rm 5:8). Therefore, each one of us can truly say: "Christ loved me and gave himself up for me" (cf Eph 5:2). Redeemed by his blood, no human life is useless or of little value, because each of us is loved personally by Him with a passionate and faithful love, a love without limits.

The Cross, -- for the world a folly, for many believers a scandal --, is in fact the "wisdom of God" for those who allow themselves to be touched right to the innermost depths of their being, "for God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength" (1 Cor 1:25). Moreover, the Crucifix, which after the Resurrection would carry forever the marks of his passion, exposes the "distortions" and lies about God that underlie violence, vengeance and exclusion. Christ is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sins of the world and eradicates hatred from the heart of humankind. This is the true "revolution" that He brings about: love.

Loving our neighbor as Christ loves us

Now we have arrived at the third stage of our reflection. Christ cried out from the Cross: "I am thirsty" (Jn 19:28). This shows us his burning thirst to love and to be loved by each one of us. It is only by coming to perceive the depth and intensity of such a mystery that we can realize the need and urgency to love him as He has loved us. This also entails the commitment to even give our lives, if necessary, for our brothers and sisters sustained by love for Him. God had already said in the Old Testament: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18), but the innovation introduced by Christ is the fact that to love as he loves us means loving everyone without distinction, even our enemies, "to the end" (cf Jn 13:1).

Witnesses to the love of Christ

I would like to linger for a moment on three areas of daily life where you, my dear young friends, are particularly called to demonstrate the love of God. The first area is the Church, our spiritual family, made up of all the disciples of Christ. Mindful of his words: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13:35), you should stimulate, with your enthusiasm and charity, the activities of the parishes, the communities, the ecclesial movements and the youth groups to which you belong. Be attentive in your concern for the welfare of others, faithful to the commitments you have made. Do not hesitate to joyfully abstain from some of your entertainments; cheerfully accept the necessary sacrifices; testify to your faithful love for Jesus by proclaiming his Gospel, especially among young people of your age.

Preparing for the future

The second area, where you are called to express your love and grow in it, is your preparation for the future that awaits you. If you are engaged to be married, God has a project of love for your future as a couple and as a family. Therefore, it is essential that you discover it with the help of the Church, free from the common prejudice that says that Christianity with its commandments and prohibitions places obstacles to the joy of love and impedes you from fully enjoying the happiness that a man and woman seek in their reciprocal love. The love of a man and woman is at the origin of the human family and the couple formed by a man and a woman has its foundation in God's original plan (cf Gen 2:18-25). Learning to love each other as a couple is a wonderful journey, yet it requires a demanding "apprenticeship".

The period of engagement, very necessary in order to form a couple, is a time of expectation and preparation that needs to be lived in purity of gesture and words. It allows you to mature in love, in concern and in attention for each other; it helps you to practice self-control and to develop your respect for each other. These are the characteristics of true love that does not place emphasis on seeking its own satisfaction or its own welfare. In your prayer together, ask the Lord to watch over and increase your love and to purify it of all selfishness. Do not hesitate to respond generously to the Lord's call, for Christian matrimony is truly and wholly a vocation in the Church. Likewise, dear young men and women, be ready to say "yes" if God should call you to follow the path of ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life. Your example will be one of encouragement for many of your peers who are seeking true happiness.

Growing in love each day

The third area of commitment that comes with love is that of daily life with its multiple relationships. I am particularly referring to family, studies, work and free time. Dear young friends, cultivate your talents, not only to obtain a social position, but also to help others to "grow". Develop your capacities, not only in order to become more "competitive" and "productive", but to be "witnesses of charity". In addition to your professional training, also make an effort to acquire religious knowledge that will help you to carry out your mission in a responsible way. In particular, I invite you to carefully study the social doctrine of the Church so that its principles may inspire and guide your action in the world. May the Holy Spirit make you creative in charity, persevering in your commitments, and brave in your initiatives, so that you will be able to offer your contribution to the building up of the "civilization of love". The horizon of love is truly boundless: it is the whole world!

"Dare to love" by following the example of the saints

My dear young friends, I want to invite you to "dare to love". Do not desire anything less for your life than a love that is strong and beautiful and that is capable of making the whole of your existence a joyful undertaking of giving yourselves as a gift to God and your brothers and sisters, in imitation of the One who vanquished hatred and death forever through love (cf Rev 5:13). Love is the only force capable of changing the heart of the human person and of all humanity, by making fruitful the relations between men and women, between rich and poor, between cultures and civilizations. This is shown to us in the lives of the saints. They are true friends of God who channel and reflect this very first love. Try to know them better, entrust yourselves to their intercession, and strive to live as they did. I shall just mention Mother Teresa. In order to respond instantly to the cry of Jesus, "I thirst", a cry that had touched her deeply, she began to take in the people who were dying on the streets of Calcutta in India. From that time onward, the only desire of her life was to quench the thirst of love felt by Jesus, not with words, but with concrete action by recognizing his disfigured countenance thirsting for love in the faces of the poorest of the poor. Blessed Teresa put the teachings of the Lord into practice: "Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40). The message of this humble witness of divine love has spread around the whole world.

The secret of love

Each one of us, my dear friends, has been given the possibility of reaching this same level of love, but only by having recourse to the indispensable support of divine Grace. Only the Lord's help will allow us to keep away from resignation when faced with the enormity of the task to be undertaken. It instills in us the courage to accomplish that which is humanly inconceivable. Contact with the Lord in prayer grounds us in humility and reminds us that we are "unworthy servants" (cf Lk 17:10). Above all, the Eucharist is the great school of love. When we participate regularly and with devotion in Holy Mass, when we spend a sustained time of adoration in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, it is easier to understand the length, breadth, height and depth of his love that goes beyond all knowledge (cf Eph 3:17-18). By sharing the Eucharistic Bread with our brothers and sisters of the Church community, we feel compelled, like Our Lady with Elizabeth, to render "in haste" the love of Christ into generous service towards our brothers and sisters.

Towards the encounter in Sydney

On this subject, the recommendation of the apostle John is illuminating: "Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth" (1 Jn 3:18-19). Dear young people, it is in this spirit that I invite you to experience the next World Youth Day together with your bishops in your respective dioceses. This will be an important stage on the way to the meeting in Sydney where the theme will be: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8). May Mary, the Mother of Christ and of the Church, help you to let that cry ring out everywhere, the cry that has changed the world: "God is love!" I am together with you all in prayer and extend to you my heartfelt blessing.

From the Vatican, 27 January 2007

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dhikr for the 5th week of the ordinary time (C)

Text: Jesus said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." (Luke 5: 4-5)

Meditation: Though our work, at times, may seem fruitless…, are we ready, like Peter, ‘to put out into deep water and lower our nets’?

Interreligious Dialogue a Must, Pope Says....

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2007 - Benedict XVI says that interreligious research and dialogue are not mere options, but rather vital imperatives for today's world.

The Holy Father said this today when receiving in audience members of the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue, established in 1999. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was among its founding members.

The foundation's first promoters attended the meeting: Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan; René-Samuel Sirat, the former chief rabbi of France; and the foundation's president, Orthodox Metropolitan Damaskinos of Andrianopolis.

"I repeat with insistence," said the Pope, "research and interreligious and intercultural dialogue are not an option but a vital necessity for our time."

The foundation seeks to find the most essential and authentic message that Judaism, Christianity and Islam can give the world.

During the audience, Metropolitan Damaskinos handed the Pope the foundation's first achievement: the joint edition, in their original languages and according to chronological order, of the sacred books of the three monotheist religions: the Torah, the Bible and the Koran.

"The rereading and, for some, the discovery of the texts that are sacred for so many people in the world oblige us to mutual respect, in confident dialogue," explained the Holy Father in his address delivered in French.

Modern expectations

The Pontiff added: "The people of today expect from us a message of concord and serenity, and the concrete manifestation of our common will to help them realize their legitimate aspiration to live in justice and peace.

"They have the right to expect from us a strong sign of a renewed understanding and reinforced cooperation."

"In the light of our religious traditions and our respective wisdom," Benedict XVI invited the members of the foundation to "discern the values capable of enlightening the men and women of all nations on earth, regardless of their culture and religion."

The Pope continued: "In this way, we will be able to advance in interreligious and intercultural dialogue, a dialogue that today is more necessary than ever: an authentic dialogue, respectful of differences, courageous, patient and persevering, which draws its strength from prayer and is nourished on the hope that dwells in all those who believe in God and who put their trust in him.

"All our respective religious traditions insist on the sacred character of life and the dignity of the human person.

"We believe that God will bless our initiatives if they contribute to the good of all his children and if it helps them to respect one another mutually, in a fraternity of worldwide dimension."

Monday, January 29, 2007

Africa-Asia Dialogue & Solidarity...

One of the "hottest" issues at the 7th World Social Forum is South-South Dialogue and Solidarity. The African and Asian delegates looked back in the 50's when the African and Asian Leaders forged partnership in Bandung, Indonesia to advance their struggle for freedom against colonialism.

At the WSF, the African and Asian activists search for new politics where Africa and Asia can create institutions and movements that will provide platforms for meetings and interactions to advance their struggles against neo-liberal policies that keep these two continents poor and dominated.

Will a new Afro-Asian Solidarity emerge from this forum...? A dialogue and solidarity no longer of leaders as of old, but movements/groups and peoples/communities that will banner anew the causes of these two continents...?

The OMI Team at the 7th WSF in Nairobi, Kenya

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Man Passionately in Love with the Poor...

The witness of Fr. Pierre is a strong call to all to live simply and to be in solidarity with the poor.

The world mourns his passing away... and his witness of faith and love remains etched in the hearts of men and women who, likewise, have cast their lots with the poor of this world...

World Mourned the Passing of a Man Passionately Committed to the Poor...

One of France's most revered figures, Abbe Pierre died on Monday, aged 94.

President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin were among the mourners on Friday.

The Roman Catholic priest was France's leading champion of the destitute and homeless, topping a national popularity poll year after year.

Abbe Pierre will be buried in a private cemetery in the Normandy village of Esteville, on a day of "national homage".

The last Frenchman to be honoured in such a way was the environmentalist and inventor, Jacques Cousteau, in 1997.

Example for nation

Former President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe were among the mourners, as were cultural celebrities including Robert Hossein, Laetitia Hallyday, Jean Reno and Lambert Wilson.

Earlier mourners paid their respects before his open coffin in the 17th-Century Val-de-Grace church in Paris, beside the hospital where he died.

"Abbe Pierre showed us the way of the heart, of generosity, of the spirit of rebellion to help the most vulnerable," Mr Chirac said.

"His message must stay alive in each of us and it is up to all of us to follow it through."

Abbe Pierre was the codename he used - abbe is a title traditionally given to priests - during his work with the French Resistance, smuggling Jews out of occupied France during World War II.

Born Henri Groues, he founded the Emmaus association in 1953, and fought for a law to stop parliament expelling tenants during the winter months after a freezing spell hit the country.

He demanded the nation act when he went on the radio in the winter of 1954, highlighting the case of a three-month-old baby who had frozen to death in inadequate housing and a woman who had died on the streets clutching an eviction order.

In the subsequent decades, he continued his tireless campaign for the destitute - and his hostels started to appear around the world in the 1970s.

Dhikr for the 4th week of the year (C)

Text: “When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.” (Luke 4: 28-29)



Meditation: Do we, also, drive Jesus out of our life if he does not conform to our wishes and caprices…? Beware!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Belfast Wall... becoming irrelevant?

The Belfast Wall is a strong testimony of the great divide in North Ireland between the Protestant and Catholic Communities. The Good Friday Peace Agreement, though not perfect, is a step forward to make the Wall irrelevant.

We need to pray that more walls that divide and separate crumble... And we, also pray that people NEED NOT build wall anymore...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Peace Process in Southern Philippines...

The Chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), His Excellency Murad Ibrahim, with his closest aides took time to share some of the highlights of the Peace Process in Southern Philippines.

The prospect for signing a principled Peace Agreement between the Philippine Government and the MILF is great.

We continue to pray for lasting Peace in Mindnao...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

International Peace Monitors in S. Philippines...


The Chief of the International Peace Monitors in Southern Philippines briefs Fr. Jun on the status of GRP and MILF compliance to the the Ceasefire Agreement.
The presence of the International Peace Monitors enhances the strict compliance to the Ceasefire Agreement.