We are learning many more details about the evolution of the original Badaliyya from these translations. The Convocations were written to invite the members to join in a personal day of fast on the first Fridays of each month and the hour-long Badaliyya gathering for prayer. They agreed to topics for common prayer with the fast that included praying for the successful outcome of interreligious dialogue. In each letter there is a plea to pray for peace and non-violent reconciliation for the many areas of the world, especially in the Southern Philippines, the Middle East and the Holy Land where tensions and civil wars were raging at the time.
We also 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 Friars 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
Portiuncula, 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
motherly help and a promise of divine help to
all those who humbly have recourse to your throne,
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 Portiuncula, 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
Bless all humanity, so that all men and women
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 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.
Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI