Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Remembrance Prayer for the 2nd Sunday of Easter (A)

Dhikr for the 2nd Sunday of Easter (A): “We have seen the Lord…”

Text: Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." (John 20: 24-25)

Meditation: In life, we behave like Thomas. We do not believe unless we, too, put our fingers into the nail marks in Jesus’ body. Yet our faith lies NOT in seeing but on the testimony of believers… We accept the testimony, because we recognize the trustworthiness and integrity of the witnesses… Today, we are the witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection! Are we trustworthy witnesses…?


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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Badaliyya Tradition

By Dorothy C. Buck

In 1934 a renowned French Catholic Islamic scholar and an Egyptian Christian woman also prayed together before the altar of a Franciscan Church in Damietta, Egypt. In a passionate plea to the God of Abraham, father of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, they made a vow to dedicate their lives to pray for the Muslim people, to stand before God for them.

As a young man, Louis Massignon had lost interest in his Christian heritage. After an unusual conversion experience while on an archaeological mission in Baghdad he became a devout Roman Catholic believer. Through years of research in the Arab world he came to love his Muslim friends and colleagues.

Mary Kahil was a Melkite Christian who grew up in Cairo, Egypt where she became active in the Muslim women's political and social causes.

Louis discovered the roots of his spirituality and his faith life in his belief that to be a follower of Christ we must substitute our own lives for the salvation of others as Jesus did.

Thus the vow that Louis and Mary made in Damietta on February 9th, 1934 was grounded in a deep conviction of the heart, a call to what Louis named the Badaliyya, an Arabic word meaning substitution.

In 1947 Louis Massignon and Mary Kahil received official approval from Rome for the statutes of the Badaliyya. They attracted many members in Cairo as well as those joining in solidarity with them, like Cardinal Montini, the future Pope Paul Vl, and many others in monasteries and church communities around the world.

In the statutes they agreed to pray for the Muslims, to treat them with respect, affection and kindness, and to personally live the gospel message of love in their daily lives. Like Mary they devoted themselves to the Muslim community by volunteering in organizations where they could live out the spirit intended by the Badaliyya.

They met once a week for an hour. Guided by his relationship with Charles de Foucauld, Massignon invited them to begin their gatherings with a prayer in solitude before the altar called adoration. Then they read the spiritual writings of Foucauld or others, and ended by praying together.

Louis Massignon's understanding of what he called mystical substitution traced back to earlier church traditions. The many saints who were often martyrs for their faith were said to unite their sufferings and death with the passion and death of Christ. In the medieval church some extraordinary mystics felt called to pray to take onto themselves the physical and emotional afflictions of those who came to them for healing.

These examples seem far from our contemporary experience of faith and appear exaggerated and foreign. Yet, Louis Massignon's vision of such immense love of
God, even at the expense of one's own life or health, evolved into a profound and intense spirituality of compassion for others.

In a letter written on January 16, 1955 to Mary Kahil he described the spirit of the
Badaliyya: (All Massignon references are from L'Hospitalité Sacrée, Ed. Jacques Keryell, 1987. Author's translation.)

"...They say that the Badaliyya is an illusion because we cannot put ourselves in the place of another, and that it is a lover's dream. It is necessary to respond that this is not a dream but rather a suffering that one receives without choosing it, and through which we conceive grace. It is the visitation [by the spirit of God], hidden in the depth of the anguish of compassion, which seizes us as an entrance into the reign of God. It certainly appears powerless, yet it requires everything, and the One on the cross who shares it with us transfigures it on the last day. It is suffering the pains of humanity together with those who have no other pitiful companion than us."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Lord is, truly, RISEN! Alleluia!

Christ’s resurrection is, for the spiritual universe, what the initial “Big Bang” was for the physical universe, according to one modern theory: such a massive explosion of energy impressed on the cosmos that expansion of energy that continues even today at a distance of billions of years. Take away from the Church faith in the resurrection and everything stops and shuts down, as when the electrical current goes out in a house.

St. Paul writes: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the death, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). “The faith of Christians is the resurrection of Christ,” St. Augustine said. Everyone believes that Jesus died, even the pagans, the agnostics believe it. But only Christians believe that he has also risen, and one is not a Christian unless he believes this.(Fr. Cantalamessa)


Friday, March 21, 2008

A Short Meditation on the Seven last Words...

Short Meditation on the Seven Last Words
By Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI

First Meditation: “Father Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

Jesus experienced abandonment in his moments of trials and difficulties. His own friends abandoned him and fled for safety. One of his chosen ones betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver. His own people disowned him. And they hailed him to foreign power to be tried and condemned to die.

In all his pains and sufferings, he lovingly looked at them and even as he heard their jeering, he said: "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."

When we feel betrayed and abandoned... may we remember Jesus' words... and learn to forgive.

Second Meditation: “Today, you will be with me in paradise…”

One of the thieves nailed to the cross with Jesus, exclaimed: "Lord, remember me when you enter into your kingdom." And Jesus replied: "Amen I say to you, today, you will be with me in paradise."

We are all sinners... Paradise is NOT a reward of our hard work or strivings. No, we do NOT merit the kingdom of God!

Paradise is NOT earned...! It is a GIFT! We pray for that gift... and like the thief on his side, we cry to God: "Lord, remember me..."

Yes, God remembers us always... and God remembers us with loving compassion.

Likewise, we are invited to remember God always... May God's name and compassion be always in our lips and hearts.

Third Meditation: To his mother, Jesus said: “woman, here is your son”. And to his disciple: “here is your mother.”

In his agony, Jesus saw the pain of his mother… he looked at her with love and entrusted her to his disciple: “woman, here is your son”. And to his disciple standing by the cross, Jesus said: “here is your mother.”

Tradition has it that Jesus, on his way to Golgotha where he would be crucified, met his mother. There are three important scenes depicted in the traditional Stations of the Cross. The first was the meeting of mother and son on the way to Calvary. Second was the scene where Mary, the women and his beloved disciple were standing at the foot of the cross. And third was the scene when Jesus was taken from the cross and laid on his mother’s lap. This last scene had inspired great artists and the most prominent was the great Michelangelo that gave us the famous Pieta.

Yes, Mary was always there in the life and work of her son… In this meditation Jesus is speaking to us and gives us his mother… to be our mother, too! He speaks to her mother and tells her… that we, now, are her sons and daughters! And today, Mary – our mother is always there, too, in our life…

Fourth Meditation: “I am thirsty.”

Nailed on the cross, Jesus felt thirst… and he cried out: “I am thirsty.” This cry of anguish echoes the cry of the poor. In many places in the world – in urban and rural settings, we find the poor who cry out, as well, in their loud voice: “I am thirsty.” Often this is a cry of the real physical thirst – no drinking water, no washing water, no toilet facilities. At times, this is a cry of anguish, because they find “no exit” from the “hole” of poverty that is akin to a quicksand that drowns them. At other times, this is a cry that seeks solidarity from people – looking for a helping hand… an extra shirt or a walk of an extra mile!

Jesus in his thirst expresses his solidarity with us… it is the thirst that invites us, also, to be in solidarity with our neighbor… But who is our neighbor? Is this not the very question that the doctor of the law asked Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan?

Fifth Meditation: “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabbactani” My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me.”

Towards the end, Jesus experienced a near despair! He was abandoned; He was in extreme pain; and He could not understand the tragedy that was unfolding… He cried out to his father: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me…”

This cry reminds of the song, Foot Prints in the Sand. It was the same experience of being abandoned in times of great pain and difficulty… Speaking to Lord, the person asked: “Lord, why have you abandoned me… for I see only a set of foot prints?” The Lord answered, “no my child, when you see only a set of foot prints… those where the times that I carried you in my arm…”

God is there… God carries us in his arms… when we, too, see only a set of foot prints… they are God’s and not ours…!

Sixth Meditation: “Father, into your hand, I commend my spirit…”

The end has come and Jesus, totally trusting his Father, cried out: “Father, into your hand, I commend my spirit.”

There are things we do not understand… The tragedy and grandeur of life, often, escape us. In fact, to understand life… we need to bend our knees… and like Jesus in the cross, we, too, need to completely put our trust in God.

When everything is said and done… it is only God’s mercy and love that endure… Yes, we need to make that leap of faith… “Father, into thy hand, I commend my whole life!”

Seventh Meditation: “It is finished.”

Before breathing his last, Jesus said: “it is finished.” Yes, he completed his mission to the last…! He paid the full price for our freedom to become God’s sons and daughters. He was the “ransom” for our freedom!

Romans 8: 31- 39, beautifully, expresses that new dignity purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ:

“What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, “for thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”