Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

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…


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 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



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 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


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."