Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mary, the Mother of God

Blessed Charles' Evangelical Counsel

Badaliyya Lesson 001, Series 2015

Blessed Charles de Foucauld’s Evangelical Counsel

Charles de Foucauld wrote his Evangelical Counsel known as his "Directory" in 1908 not only for religious who are living a consecrated life as priests or Sisters and monks but for anyone, married or single, who wished to share in his vision of Christians living their everyday life in the world as silent witnesses to the gospel message as he understood it.

He called his apostolate his "Nazareth", living in the world as he imagined Jesus, his Savior and God, chose to live for 30 years, his love and goodness shining through his life as a poor carpenter.

His call was to the Sahara in southern Algeria doing all that he could to demonstrate Jesus' love for all people in his prayer and constant attention to the needs of the Touareg people who lived in that region.

His Directory was meant as a guide for all who would live their own "Sahara" in prayer and through caring for others, especially the poorest and most marginalized, non-Christians and those he called "the most abandoned ones".

His lay Association had 48 members at his death in 1916 and now includes religious communities of Sisters, Monks and Priests all over the world as well as the 1000 members of the Union Sodalité and groups of priests or lay persons known as the "Fraternities" of Charles de Foucauld with as many as 6000 members in each region of the world.

Louis Massignon and Mary Kahil, the Egyptian woman,  established the Badaliyya in Cairo in 1934. It was through the encouragement of Louis Massignon that Little Sister Magdeleine of Jesus founded the Little Sisters of Jesus.

Louis Massignon was clearly influenced by Charles de Foucauld's vision of a network of praying Christians world -wide when he wrote the statutes for the Badaliyya prayer and at the same time the context for his prayer, as Arab Christians living as a minority in an Islamic country, coupled with his deeply felt prayer of substitution, added the dimension that speaks so loudly to us today. In this spirit we are challenged to learn to open our hearts and our minds to all those believers in other faith traditions than our own, especially our Jewish and Muslim neighbors who share our Abrahamic roots.

In his statutes Massignon always turns back to Foucauld's writings as well as St. Francis when he suggests prayer and reflections for the Badaliyya gatherings.

I offer the following meditation written by Foucauld in 1897 as food for thought as we pray together and discern where our prayer will lead us to bear its fruit in the silence of our own hearts and in our prayers with and for our brothers and sisters of all faiths both here in the Southern Philippines and in the Middle East and especially the Holy Land. Praying to Jesus he writes:

"You tell me that I will be happy with the blessed happiness of the last day... that as miserable as I am, I am like a palm tree planted beside living waters, the living waters of the Divine Will, Love, and Grace...and that in due season I will bear fruit.

You deign to console me: you tell me that I shall bear fruit when the time is right. And when will this time be? For each one, this time will be at the Judgement. You promise that as long as I keep trying and stay on the battlefield, even as poor as I may seem in my own eyes, I will have born fruit on that last day.

And you add: you will be a beautiful tree with leaves that are eternally green: and all your works will prosper and bear fruit for all eternity. My God how good you are
". (Who can resist God? p.109)

Blessed Charles died alone in the Sahara. No one came to join him and there were only 48 members of his prayer Association all of whom expected that it would not survive. What would he say to the thousands who are now members of his spiritual family?

Pace e Bene!
Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI
January 2015

Friday, December 26, 2014

True Love in Jesus Christ....

True Love in Jesus Christ..

The many odes written about true love...  Clergy, ulama and other guru try to define it... Yet, only those consumed by it truly understand what it is all about...!

Dante wrote in The Divine Comedy: ‘The day that man allows true love to appear, those things which are  made will fall into confusion and will overturn everything we believe to be right and true.’

Paolo Coelho wrote in The Zahir: ‘Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.’

‘This force is on earth to make us happy, to bring us closer to God and to our neighbour, and yet, given the way that we love now, we enjoy one hour of anxiety for every minute of peace.’

We profess that God is LOVE! And that LOVE is the one revealed by Jeus Christ – the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger; and and the man hanging on the Cross at Calvary!

A Blessed Christmas!

Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Feast of the Holy Family (B)

Short Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family (B)

Readings: Sirach 3: 2-7, 12-14; Colossians 3: 12-21; Luke 2: 22-40

Selected Passage:  “Simon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed’.”(Luke 2: 34-35)

 Meditation:  It will NOT be all bed of roses for this child born in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes… NO! This child is the NEW face of God is destined for the fall and rise of many. He is the face of God that is MERCY and COMPASSION and by his words and deeds all hearts, thoughts and actions would be measured! Cuidate!


A Blessed Christmas!

From the Grotto of the Nativity, I greet you all with a Blessed Christmas!  
Jesus born in Bethlehem wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger is the NEW FACE of God!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Al-Azhar Conference on Extremism

December 2014 Al-Azhar Conference on Extremism....

Extremism and terrorism are making our homelands inhospitable, not only for Arab Christians, but also for our neighbors. In response to this crisis, the Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb invited Muslim religious scholars from 120 countries to Cairo at the beginning of this month. This Al-Azhar conference on counter terrorism produced three very important statements.

First, it was stated unequivocally that groups which carry religious flags and commit violent acts in the name of God have polluted the faith. Killing of innocents, atrocities against women, and violation of Holy Places are crimes against humanity, and are absolutely condemned by Islam in word and in context. These groups, by virtue of their heinous deeds, should be considered apostates and outsiders, no longer faithful Muslims.

Secondly, these Muslim scholars and leaders assured the world that Muslims and Christians are brothers and sisters. They have lived together in peace, in various places, throughout the centuries. Diversity has historically been seen as a source of richness and fruitfulness, not a source of fear. For this reason, this conference have even called for equal citizenship with equal rights with equal responsibilities for all citizens in the Arab and Muslim world.

Finally, the Muslim leaders of this conference asked their compatriots, the Arab Christians, to remain rooted in their countries until this wave of extremism passes away. They asked that countries not encourage Christians to emigrate, as this only helps the extremist forces which aim to control our political future, and tear apart our culture and values.

(Al-Azhar Conference, Cairo: December 2014)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fr. Massignon's Interreligious Dialogue

As faith communities, once again, focus n intereligious dialogue, I thought it appropriate that we in the Badaliyya Movement remember the insight of Fr. Louis Massignon on interreligious dialogue.

Fr. Louis Massignon has much to teach us about the idea of what we call "inter-religious dialogue". The meaning of Badaliyya,(substitution) helps us to recognize that Fr. Massignon's experience of other religions, and believers of all spiritual traditions, was coming out of his intense relationship with God, and that called him to understand compassion, friendship and non-violence as the basis for mutual respect and openness to others.

An issue of the Bulletin published by the Association of the Friends of Fr. Louis Massignon is dedicated to the subject of interreligious dialogue.In these articles his friends today struggle to grasp the enormity of this man's spiritual and intellectual genius and our responsibility to dare to pass on his way of living his vocation which was dedicated to "sacred hospitality", and took root in his passion for justice and compassion through a fervent life of prayer. 

In re-creating the Badaliyya for our time we are challenged by Fr. Massignon to try to open our hearts and let the Spirit move us towards authentic engagement with others of different faiths.

As we continue to journey in the Season of Advent, we await with joy the realization of the promise - Emmanuel that means God is with us...

Pace e Beqne!
Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI

4th Sunday of Advent
December 21, 2014

Cotabato City

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

4th Sunday of Advent (B)

Short Reflection for the 4th Week of Advent (B)
Readings: 2 Samuel 7: 1-5. 8-12; Romans 16: 25-27; Luke 1: 26-38
Selected Gospel Passage: And the angel said to Mary in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God”. (Luke 1: 35)
Reflection: Jesus comes to us anew through the power of the Holy Spirit and like Mary, our mother, in events we least expect. What is important is our generosity and readiness to respond, like Mary, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word’.
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, December 10, 2014

Focus for Advent: Mary, the Mother of God (Theotokos)

Focus for Advent: Our Blessed Mother as the Mother of God (Theotokos)

We have learned that the Patroness of the original Badaliyya was Our Lady of Pokrov whose feast is celebrated in the Byzantine calendar on October 1st. This is an image of Our Lady as intercessor who spreads her veil ("pokrov" in russian) as a sign of protection.

By way of sharing, we cite the following prayer to the Virgin written for the "Feast of the Portiuncula" in the Franciscan calendar which falls on August 2nd. This was the chapel restored by St. Francis in which he formed his first group of Frairs Minor, where St. Clare took the habit, and where the friars gathered annually for their chapter meetings. It became the center of the Franciscan community.

O Virgin of the Angels, who has for centuries
established your throne of mercy at the
Porziuncula, hear the prayer of your children,
who trust in you.

From this truly holy place and
the habitation of the Lord, so dear to the heart
of Saint Francis, you have always invited all men
to love.

Your tender eyes assure us of a never failing
motherly help and a promise of divine help to
all those who humbly have recourse to your throne,
or who from afar, turn to you to ask for help.

You are, indeed, our sweet Queen and our only hope.
O Lady of the Angels, obtain for us, through
the intercession of blessed Francis, pardon for
our sins, help us to keep away from sin and
indifference, so that we shall be worthy of cal-
ling you our Mother for evermore.

Bless our homes, our toil and our rest, by
giving us that same serenity we experience
within the walls of the Porziuncula, where hate,
guilt and tears turn into a song of joy like that
once was sung by the Angels and the seraphic Francis.

Help those who are in need and hungry,
those who are in danger of body and soul,
those who are sad and downhearted, those
who are sick and dying.

Bless us, your most beloved children, and, we
pray you, bless also with the same motherly
gesture, all those who are innocent, together
with those are guilty; those who are faithful,
together with those who have gone astray;
those who believe, together with those who are
in doubt.

Bless all humanity, so that all men
acknowledging that they are God's children,
would find through love, real Peace and real Good.

Those who are joining the First Friday prayer for peace may also want to make it a day of fast during this season of Advent as a sacrificial offering in keeping with Massignon's deep belief in the efficacy of fasting and prayer as a powerful tool for change in the world.

Please join us in spirit as we pray for an end to violence in Southern Philippines, the Middle East and the Holy Land.

Peace to everyone.
Bapa Jun Mercado, OMI

December 10, 2014

Holy Men and Women of Badaliyya during Advent

We begin our Advent Devotion by taking Our Lady of Pokrov, known as the Theotokos (Mother of God), as the patron saint of our Badaliyya, as she was for the original prayer group in Cairo.The feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos falls in the Byzantine Calender on October 1st. It honors the appearance of the Virgin during an all night vigil in Blachernae Church in Constantinople on October 1st, in the year 911 where she was seen to be spreading her veil in protection of the world.
Fr. Louis Massignon encouraged the addition of this feast in his adopted Greek Catholic (Melkite) Rite.He also mentioned Sr. Mariam Baouardy, a Palestinian Arab Carmelite who died in 1878 and was beatified in 1983.

We would dedicate our prayer gathering to those saints who were so essential to Massignon's own spiritual growth. Our Lady of Pokrov, October 1st, Saint Francis on October 4th, and St. Therese of Lisieux on October 1st who was made a Doctor of the Church on October 19th,1997 and Blessed Charles de Foucauld, December 1st. In keeping with Massignon's spirit we call on these Holy men and women as we pray for peace and non-violent reconciliation in the Holy Land, the Middle East and throughout the world.

Please join us in spirit as we pray for an end to violence in Southern Philippines the Middle East and the Holy Land.

Peace to you.
Bapa Jun Mercado, OMI

December 10, 2014

3rd Sunday of Advent (B)

Short Reflection for 3rd Sunday of Advent (B)

Readings: Isaiah 61: 1-2. 10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24; John. 1: 6-8. 19-28

Selected Passage: He said: "I am 'the voice of one crying out in the desert, "Make straight the way of the Lord,"' * as Isaiah the prophet said." (John 1: 23)

Meditation:  The call is to ‘make straight the way of the Lord’.  Often, we miss the coming of the Lord into our lives, because of the ‘hardness’ or the ‘crookedness’ of our hearts. John the Baptist reminds us that if we truly want to feel and see the coming of the Lord into our lives, we need to have a change of heart… a true conversion.

Visit: www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

Dhikr Prayer 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. Recite the passage as often possible… sometimes with the use of beads
4. 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, December 04, 2014

Advent: Curing Fire with Fire


Goethe defines that as “a desire for higher love-making”, a longing to embrace the world and make love to it as God does this.
Such a desire, if correctly fostered, he assures us, will wreak a painful but wonderful spiritual havoc (he calls it “magic”) within us; it will make us “insane for the light”, wild with the desire to transmute ourselves, grow wings like the butterfly, and fly off, not to escape the world, but to die to all the things that prevent us from, here and now, already making love to the whole world. Longing is meant to be a transforming mysticism within our lives. It creates the energy for metamorphosis.
John of the Cross identified this with “putting on the motivation of Christ.” For him, the desire for higher love-making was the spirit that burned inside of Jesus, the energy that motivated him and consumed, as by fire, all the more limited desires within him. He was insane for the light, on fire with God’s eros, willing to die so as to be transformed and so offer the world the widest love of all, God’s embrace.
Advent celebrates human longing. It asks us not to deny our longings but to enter them, deepen them, and widen them until we become insane enough for the light so that, like the butterfly, we open ourselves to undergo a metamorphosis.
(Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI)
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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

2nd Sunday of Advent (B)

Short Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Advent (B)

Readings - Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8

Selected Passage: A voice of one crying out in the desert: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'" John (the) Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Mark 1: 3-4)

Reflection: Like John the Baptizer we prepare for the coming of the Lord.  He comes in events and moments we least expect.  And how do we prepare for his coming into our lives? We celebrate Advent through good deeds and actions on behalf of the poor and the needy. By these deeds our many sins are forgiven.


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:

Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips. 
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, November 26, 2014

Badal: St. Francis of Assisi

Badal: St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis remains the Model of Christian Witness in the world of Islam…The offer of St. Francis before the Sultan at Damietta – the “Test of Fire” and his “crucifixion” at Mt. Al-Verna are, today, read in the spirit of Badal (Ransom)…

Frs. Charles de Foucauld and Louis Massignon traveled “mystically” the path of Badal as inspired by St. Francis…

Francis of Assisi

1.     It is enough to utter his name and everyone knows who he is.  St. Francis was a man of God.  And because he was a man of God, he always lived what was essential.  So he was a simple, courteous and gentle to everyone, like God in his mercy.

2.     The Phenomenological Manifestations of our epoch…

·       Emptiness.  It is born of a feeling of impotence.  There is very little we can do to change our life, our community and society. Finally there is really nothing important…

·       Loneliness. It is an experience of lack of contact with nature and others in terms of friendship and gentleness. There is the lack of courage to commit oneself.

·       Fear.  It is the fruit of objective threats to life, to employment, to collective survival of humanity in general.

·       Anxiety. It has its origin in imagined fear, ignorance as to what one ought to do, in whom to trust, and what to expect.  When anxiety grips an entire society it means that the whole society feels threatened and senses its approaching end.

·       Aggressiveness without objectives.  It reveals a rupture with the norms of relationship without which a society cannot be built or defended.  What results is anonymity and the loss of the meaning of the self, that is, the worth and sacredness of human person.

From the above, Two consequences ensue… first is Emptiness and second is Loss. It is the loss of language of everyday communication, the loss of meaningful relationship and the lack of vital relationship with nature and habitat.

3.     St. Francis and the New Ethos…  It is a new way of life with many and varied relationship to nature, to others, to religion and to God.  In St. Francis, it was through Pathos – Sympathy and Eros – fraternal communication and tenderness.  Manifestations are:
·       His Innocence
·       His enthusiasm for nature
·       His gentleness to all beings
·       His capacity for compassion with the poor and “confraternization” with all elements and even death itself.

4.     To Be Saint … in the case of Francis…
·       To be Saint, it is necessary to be human.
·       To be human, it is necessary to be sensitive and gentle.

“Man knows as much as he does.” Francis’s gentleness was demonstrated, especially in his human relationship.  He broke the rigidity of the feudal hierarchy and called all persons as brothers and sisters.  He himself was called “little brother” (fratello). He wanted to unite great and small, to treat the wise and simple with brotherly affection, to bind with tie of love those who were held at a distance.  He treated everyone with outmost courtesy, even Saracens, Infidels and thieves.

5.     Peace…  One of the global values lived by Francis was Peace.

·       The World is the “regio dissimilitudinis” and behind these dissimilarities are camouflaged injustices and violence.
·       Every time Francis began his preaching, he invoked Peace… saying: “the Lord gives you peace.”  It is Peace and all good.  His group carries out a true mission of peace – “Legatio Pacis”.
·       The peace that is proclaimed in word ought always to be present in the heart.  Let no one be provoked by us to anger or scandal, but rather let all through your gentleness, be led to Peace, Tranquility and agreement.  “BE KINDER WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS.”

6.     The Role of Mediation…  During the Crusades, Francis had a profound impact on the Sultan. Francis gave a vote of confidence to the liberating capacity of kindness, gentleness, patience and understanding.  Peace in his own PERSON manifested in his words, poetry and song. 

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…