Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Thursday, July 31, 2014

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Short Reflection for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Readings: Isaiah 55: 1-3; Romans 8: 35. 37-39; Matthew 14: 13-21
Gospel Passage:  “There is no need for them to disperse. Give them something to eat yourselves.” (Mt. 14: 16)
Meditation:  The challenge of the Gospel to act and do CHARITY AND SHARING of our goods by ourselves.  THESE ARE NOT CARRIED OUT BY PROXY. WE LIVE & DO THEM OURSELVES…
Bapa Jun
1st step: Write the Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) in your heart.
2nd step: Let the Dhikr remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the Dhikr silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the Dhikr in your life. 
Lesson 1: Badal (an Arabic word for Ransom)
In our introduction, we have said that the Dhikr practices are intimately linked to the people belonging to a “Tariqa” (a path or confraternity). In the traditions of Christian witnesses living in the world of Islam, a movement emerged by the name of  Badaliyya (Ransom/Substitution). Frs. Louis Massignon and Charles de Foucauld were the more known Badals…  We shall journey through the Badaliyya Movement through meditation…
 First Meditation on Badal: “Let God be God…”
 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… “Let there be… and there was…” He is the beginning… to him belongs the initiative … and the “wantedness” begins in him.
 Experience the Divine Hospitality.  God is a constant RSVP…  He/She is the Host … the Rahman and the Rahim … Mercy and Compassion.
  • The hospitality of Abraham is the sign among the nations – the gathering of all peoples … announcing in the end that God is constant and insistent RSVP.
  • God is an invitation to mastery of oneself, discipline, delight, celebration and entrustment.
  • Hospitality is a known and a much respected tradition in the East… In fact the obligation of Hospitality is prior to the obligation of doing a jihad…
Refrain during the week: “Wa ma qadaru-l-llahi hatta drihi” (They did not have the true estimation of God) S6:91.
Bapa Elisha “Jun” Mercado, OMI

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Eid Greetings to All Muslims as they end the Ramadan

With the expected appearance of the new man, this marks the end of Ramadan. Greetings to all my Muslim Friends...

Badaliyya 1st Friday Fast


We are learning many more details about the evolution of the original Badaliya 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, followed by a celebration of Mass and the hour-long Badaliya gathering for prayer. They agreed to topics for common prayer with the fast that included praying for the successful outcome of interreligious conferences and those attending them. In each letter there is a plea to pray for peace and non-violent reconciliation for the many areas of the world, especially 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 Badaliya 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.

One of our members also shared the following prayer to the Virgin written for the "Feast of the Portiuncula" in the Franciscan calendar that 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
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 calling 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 Union of Charles de Foucauld in a 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.

Peace to everyone.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Badaliyya - a Shared Pilgrimage

We continue to explore the meaning of the Badaliyya by deepening our understanding of Fr.  Louis Massignon's original intent. In our time we are called to a different expression of it yet realize that we also need to be grounded in the essence of Badaliyya as a spiritual call.

Grounded on the original Badaliyya, Massignon grew to more and more involvement in the Muslim community and its well being. Beyond the Christian/Muslim dialogue and founding a shared pilgrimage that survives to this day, he volunteered for thirty years to teach French and Mathematics to Algerian political prisoners and finally in his late seventies marched in the streets of Paris for an Independent Algeria in the 1950's and early 1960's.

Today we are challenged to allow the Badaliyya spirit to open our hearts to welcome our Muslim neighbors and move us towards reconciliation through mutual trust and understanding. This begins with our own conversion of hearts.

Bapa Jun Mercado, OMI
Cotabato City
july 25, 2014

July 25: St. James the Apostle - El Peligrino

The famous Walk to Campostella... The Pilgrims from all parts of Europe walk to visit the cathedral of Santiago de Campostella...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Short Reflection for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Short Reflection for the 17th Week of the Year (A)

Readings: 1 King 3: 5. 7-12; Romans 8: 28-30; Matthew 13: 44-52

Gospel Passage:  “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he/she hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he/she owns and buys the field.” (Mt. 13: 44)

Reflection:  Where does our treasure truly lay…? The real treasurer is in us. Sometimes it is hidden from us.  We need a discerning spirit to discover this treasure; faith to believe in it; and prayer to nurture it. Remember, that in the real reckoning of our treasurer… it is our deeds and life that give testimony to our real treasure.

Note: On Badaliyya
The Badaliyya movement – a legacy identified with two witnesses of Christian presence in the world of Islam - Fr. Louis Massignon and Fr. Charles de Foucauld.  Badaliyya is from the Arabic word Badal that means RANSOM. The Badaliyya movement is one of the many legacies of my stay in Egypt. Bapa Jun

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dom Thomas Merton on Contemplation

Dom Thomas Merton on Contemplation

In his book, ‘The Climate of Monastic Prayer’. Merton defined contemplation as ‘essentially a listening in silence’ and an ‘expectancy’.

The true contemplate is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is ‘answered’, it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence.  It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God.”  (pp.122-123)

Merton had learned early to keep vigil in silence with his heart’s eye on the horizon of the next moment.  The next moment could reveal in light or in shadow the presence of the Beloved he awaited.  He kept his mind’s eye open for the unexpected epiphany.  Waiting without projecting his own needs into the next moment became a dark form of hope.  Merton’s gift to his readers was his honesty in communicating the darkness that was his ‘rite of passage’ into God’s presence.

(Note: I have been assigned since a year ago as Spiritual Director of the OMI Postulants.  I simply listen and journey with our postulants and also college seminarians as their SD… Part of the self-imposed regimen is to read and read spiritual authors like Thomas Merton and combined them with my own experiences of struggle, darkness, and even the absence of God yet believing and hoping that God reveals himself even in his absence…)

Fr. Eliseo ‘Jun’ Mercado, OMI

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Readings: Wisdom 12: 13, 16-19; Romans 8: 26-27; Matthew 13: 24-43

Gospel Passage: “Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, ‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn’.” (Matthew 13: 30)

Meditation: Meditating on the weed and the wheat, we pray that we become the wheat and not the destructive weed that is destined for burning…

It is a mystery why God does NOT immediately prune society or community of weeds but waits until each person’s nature is revealed.  This would allow us to recognize the process that transforms us and in others from what look bad at the beginning into something good. Thus we need to be OPEN…!
Bapa Jun


Dhikr is an Arabic word which means REMEMBRANCE.
1st step: Write the text 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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Let God BE GOD!

Badaliyya Lesson 01: Let God be God

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… “Let there be light and there was light” (Genesis 1: 1 - 31).  God saw everything that he had made and behold it was very GOOD! He is the beginning… to him belongs the initiative and the “desire” begins in him.

Ruth Burrows, in a recent book, points this out by presenting us with the following image:  “A baby in its mother's womb is in a relationship with her but is unaware of it and does not respond to the mother's intense love and desire to give herself to the child. The relationship with God on the human side can remain as minimal as that of the baby.”

The reality of God and the GOODNESS of his work do not depend upon us or on our conscious/ awareness of it.

The narrative of God’s creating everything including us is NOT past tense and that we now somehow have life and existence independent of God. In God, everything is PRESENT TENSE!
God is actively creating us right now and is sustaining us in being right now. There is no past tense as regards creation. If God, even for a second, would cease creating and sustaining us, we would cease to be. We have no reality independent of God, no more than a baby in the womb is independent of its mother. The baby may not be aware of the mother but the mother's reality is what is massive, life giving, and life sustaining. That is also true in our relationship to God.

In entering into the context of Badaliyya, we need to experience the Divine ACTION and God’s REALITY that is LIFE in the here and now and in the beyond.  Often we have a false estimation of God and his work… echoing Sura 6: 91:  “Wa ma qadaru-l-llahi hatta drihi” (They did not have the true estimation of God.

Who God is to me…?
·       Joy:  God is a King and Miracle worker with all his splendor and majesty.
·       Sad:  God is a friend and consoler.
·       Confused:  God is a Guide and the Truth.
·       Tempted:  God is a hound.  I cannot hide from him.
·       Wronged:  God is a judge – just and forgiving.
·       Usual:  God is the creator and Father.
·       Poor:  God is a Provider and Generous Giver.
·       Reader:  God is the Lord of the universe.

God is everything.
God is a loving and living one – Father and Friend.
He is my Guide.
Without him, I’m nothing…
He is my protection and comfort.
The Bounty…
My sunrise and sunset…

In the Islamic Sufi Tradition…
God is Supreme and unseen…
He is One and only one God… No partners…
All praise due to him…
Humble myself before him
Bow to him in adoration…
He is Most Merciful (Rahman) and Beneficent (Rahim)…
We forget him when we have all… and we remember him when we have none.
Author and Inventor of creation…
Tolerant God …
Lord of all…
Master… I’m his servant.
Beyond … yet closer to me than the jugular vein…
My seeing, walking, my everything…
His absence will reduce me to nothing…
From him I came to him I shall return…
One in his essence and attribute…
He begets not nor begotten…
None like unto him…

(Bapa Jun)