Dear Friends of the Badaliyya,
The Badaliyya Prayer Group began in Cairo in 1934 under the guiding spirit of Fr. Louis Massignon and Mary Kahil. The Badaliya Movement is closely linked to a Marian spirituality which seemed in keeping with Massignon's spirituality as well as that of his friend and mentor, Charles de Foucauld.
We began the movement in Cotabato out of a shared concern for the mounting religious undertones in the conflicts in the Southern Philippines , especially in the Cotabato empire province.
By renewing the spirit of the Badaliyya for our time we are hoping to encourage mutual respect, understanding and dialogue between Massignon's three Abrahamic traditions here in the Southern Philippines and wherever others join us in spirit around the world. In the spirit of our friend and guide, Louis Massignon we believe, as he did, that any efforts at reconciliation and social action must begin in prayer.
We begin by reflecting on the foundations of the Badaliyya in order to ground us in the spirit of its original intention. The Badaliyya began with a vow made by Louis Massignon and Mary Kahil in an ancient Franciscan church to dedicate themselves to the well-being of the Muslim community.
Since we are a small group it is reassuring to realize that the Badaliyya began with only two. The initial responses to the idea of a vow led us to begin to realize the seriousness of our endeavor. It reminds us that all our vows are essentially a deepening of our baptismal promises. This is an invitation for us to struggle more intently with what we are called to become.
We discussed the meaning of the Arabic word, badaliyya, substitution, and began some reflection on Massignon's understanding in light of his intense Christian faith. Substitution is a controversial and challenging call which we will continue to explore through the writings of Massignon and others at our gatherings.
In keeping with the original statutes of the Badaliyya we began our prayer together in silence. We used a piece of music to help us focus our prayer, and then spent some time in silent reflection. We centered our gathering on the theme of peace and each person was asked to bring a reading or something to share.
There were scripture passages, a reading from the Qur'an, and an original poem written about Saint Francis. Our intercessory prayers included a plea for peaceful resolution to the crises in the world and for conversion of hearts of all those whose hatred leads them to terrorist actions. We prayed for the courage to forgive them by offering ourselves in their place to be reconciled to a benevolent God. We closed with the prayer of our Church, the Lord's Prayer.
We agreed to join praying for peace in the world, especially in Mindanao, each last Thursday of the month here at IAG Office.
Today there are members in 52 countries. The Union was officially recognized by a Bishop of the Catholic Church as an association of the faithful at Christmas in 1986 continuing the recognition given to Foucauld in 1909 by Mgr. Bonnet, the Bishop of Viviers in France.The Cairo Badaliya always included spiritual readings by Charles de Foucauld or others which we will include in our prayer as well.
Peace to everyone.
Jun Mercado, OMI