Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Badaliyya Study and Prayer Session

Badaliyya Study and Prayer Session

Badaliyya is a movement based on the concept of BADAL. Badal is an Arabic word for “Substitution” or “Ransom”.  Louis Massignon had “discovered” the reality of BADAL – Substitution/Ransom for the reparation of injustices and for witnessing to the poor and victims of injustices.  Substitution/Ransom demands an offer of the total self – similar to the test of martyrdom or Shahid.  Badaliyya is the movement began by Fr. Louis Massignon in Egypt upon the inspiration of Blessed Charles de Foucauld.

Jesus Christ is the Model of Badal.  Quoting from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation. (Romans 5: 5-11)

The Badaliyya Movement comes from the "understanding" that interreligious relation is primarily a movement of LOVE - a PASSIONATE LOVE that moves one to offer his/her life that others may have life and life to the full. It is a movement of self-expenditure... The model is Jesus Christ in the cross that paid the price by being a RANSOM for us!

St. Francis of Assisi and Blessed Charles de Foucauld are few examples of Badal.  The Badaliyya movement got the first impetus through the initiatives and efforts of Fr. Louis Massignon, Mary Kahil and their friends in the Arabic Academy specializing in Middle East Studies.

The monthly Session of the Badaliyya Study and Prayer Group is a monthly schedule at the Divine Mercy Spiritual Center from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. The day varies depending on the availability of major participants (The OMI Novitiate &n Postulancy; the Marist Brothers’ Novitiate and the OND Tamontaka Communities and the Binuligan Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine.

Everyone looking for a type of a Christian Spirituality in the context of Muslim-Christian relations is welcome to the Badaliyya.  We are looking forward to your active participation in the Badaliyya Movement…

Thank You...

Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI
September 29, 2016

For more information, visit the website of the Badaliyya Philippines at http://www.badaliyya.blogspot.com/

Badaliyya Study and Prayer Session

Badaliyya Study and Prayer Session 

Today, September 29th, we shall have our monthly Badaliyya Study and Prayer Session at the Divine Mercy Spiritual Centre (Tamontaka, Dinaig) from 2:30 pm to 4 pm. Then we shall proceed to the OND Home Care for the Mass at 4:30 pm for Sr. Terese Carbonell, OND - RIP.
The theme for the afternoon session is St. Francis of Assisi....
The series of study and prayer session is our attempt to shape a Christian Spirituality within the context of Muslim and Christian setting.
Come and join us...
Badaliyya - Philippines

Monday, September 26, 2016

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Readings: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4; Second Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; and Luke 17:5-10

Selected Passage:  “The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."  The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to (this) mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.   (Luke 17: 5-6)
Meditation:  Faith is God’s gift to us.  We believe in God who has called us from  the very beginning.  And if we truly believe, we know that through the eyes of faith, we can do wonders -  forgive sins; heal the sick; and drive out demons!  Our call lies in the fact that we stand and live by the values we believe in.  This remains a challenge to each one of us. Visit:  www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

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, September 20, 2016

The Challenge of Abu Sayyaf and Islamic Fundamentalism

The Challenge of Abu Sayyaf and Islamic Fundamentalism

The Abu Sayyaf Groups or ASG like any Islamic Extremist Groups are NOT accepted by mainstream Muslims. This fact alone and the many varying differences in the Islamic Movements preclude a single or monolithic fundamentalist belief.

Is there any possibility of understanding the militant and often violent Islamic Extremist groups when the leaders of these groups in the name of Islam are preaching fire and damnation against the government, Christianity, and the West? The names of Janjalani, Qaddafi, Angeles, Robot, Abu Sabaya, Marwan, Bassit, etc. are synonymous to violence, kidnappings and terrorism.

Since the early 1990s until their deaths, both Janjalani and Angeles and their successors in the Abu Sayyaf had been promoting the use of violence and acts of lawlessness, particularly kidnapping. People ask what kind of relationship these groups can foresee with Islam and other Islamic fronts in light of the lawlessness and criminality that the Abu Sayyaf is a prime example. The apprehension of extremist Islamic groups is widespread among Christians living in Southern Philippines and in other Muslim-dominated societies in the Middle East and in other parts of Asia and Africa.

This small publication is a sort of giving assistance to people to be able to wrestle with the many questions people entertain as they search for a comprehension of the terrible phenomenon as the Abu Sayyaf Groups. In this regard the cautionary advice may help orientate our perspective: "Contemporary people stereotype of Islamization reflect three tendencies which militate against understanding: sensationalism particularly in the mass media which oversimplifies complex realities; essentialism which tends to cast Islam as a monolithic religion and view all Muslims as the same; and extremism which regards all Muslims as fundamentalist with the implication that they are dogmatic, reactionary, and anti-modernist."

An early example of prediction that Islamic fundamentalists are poised to take over the Muslim world is found in Militant Islam by the Indian-born British journalist Godfrey Jansen. Writing in the shadow of the Iranian revolution, he portrayed fundamentalism as the most potent force within the contemporary Muslim world, rooted in its Islamic past, successful in Iran, Sudan and Afghanistan and Pakistan, and "well placed to come to power in Algeria, Egypt and the Sudan in the near future, and in Indonesia in the not too distant future."

Fundamentalism is often expressed as Islam's ‘Wrath against the West’. Anger against the West - its imperial history, its monopoly of resources, its political manipulations ensuring that Muslims' "half-made societies are doomed to remain half-made"--is Fundamentalism's recurrent theme.

Fundamentalism is also often associated or identified with terrorism. Beginning with Khomeini’s revolution, Islamic Fundamentalism has become a sort of a sacred rage yes a sort of the Wrath of Militant Islam. The focus is on terrorism as a particular manifestation of anger. This portrayal of fundamentalism that is almost entirely in militant terms falls back on the cliché of fanaticism.

The reductionist interpretations of Islamic fundamentalism are misleading in that they adhere to a single account of fundamentalism that, upon closer analysis, is shown to be untenable as a total explanation. They address symptoms more than causes. Does this suggest that fundamentalism is more deeply rooted in the very nature of Islam as a historic religious experience?

With greater discrimination, however, we need caution to assess Islam as fundamentalist by nature. This is to disregard the wide variety of religious, social, and political manifestation of Islamic identity throughout history. It is, in fact, to play to the fundamentalists' own methodology and rhetoric, which seek to impose a particular view of Islam upon Muslims as a whole. Muslim and non-Muslim alike need to rectify this violent image by honoring the rich diversity of Islam's historic and contemporary experience.

The concept of fundamentals certainly exists in Islamic thought, and centrally so in the importance of the ‘usul ("roots," or "foundations") of religion. The roots of Islam lie in the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Shari'a. The Qur'an is held to be the very Word of God (kalam Allah). The Hadith, embodying the sunna, or inspired example of the Prophet Muhammad, serves to interpret and amplify the meaning of God's Word. Together, the Qur'an and Hadith constitute the sources of shari's, which, by a process of juristic discernment (figh), provides ethical instruction and guidance for Muslim communities and individuals. Traditional Islamic theology gives first place to these three fundamentals of religion, distinguishing them from everything else, which is derivative and therefore classified as "branches" (furu').

Of the several Arabic terms that designate renewal, one that has enjoyed wide currency through the past century is islah--a word that has no precise English equivalent but that conveys the idea of making righteous. It was used particularly by Muslims from the second half of the nineteenth century who wanted to restore the identity of Islamic society (at the time largely controlled by European empires) by returning to the precedent of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions (salaf). Known as the Salafiya movement, (17) it eschewed anachronistic historicism by advocating a renewed use of reason 'aql) as the means of interpreting the fundamentals of religion over against centuries of imitative tradition (taqlid).

Generally considered to be the first "fundamentalist" movement in the Muslim world, the Muslim Brotherhood enables us to identify the phenomenon (1) as the social application of Islamic principles, (2) as a counter-ideology to the ruling elite, (3) with leaders emerging form outside the rank of religious professionals ('ulama), and (4) as attractive to people who feel themselves alienated from both traditional Islamic authority and secular rulers.

Central to Social Transformation is the concept of jihad, the Arabic word for "striving," in which it is the duty of all Muslims to engage. The Prophet Muhammad taught that jihad is engaged at four levels: in the heart, as the place of spiritual striving; by the tongue, as the means of preaching and teaching the message of Islam; by the hand, as the means of its social application; and finally by the sword, as the implement of its defense and confrontation against ungodly forces. This last meaning of militant struggle was exemplified in the Prophet Muhammad's strategy against pagan forces of Mecca from his home base in Medina. Sayyid Qutb drew an analogy between this and the situation in Egypt under the cold war pressures of Soviet and American influences. He declared Egypt to be in a state of pagan ignorance; thus he justified the use of force to bring about change.

Analysts of the Iranian revolution question the degree to which it was purely Islamic in the sense of being motivated solely by religious factors. A potent variety of political and economic elements were involved. As the only major institution during the Pahlavi monarchy that successfully resisted state control, it was the clergy, under Khomeini's uncompromising leadership, who were able to articulate popular grievances against the Westernizing trends of the shah's Iranian nationalism, eventually to the point of directing and "Islamizing" the forces of opposition.

Now into its second decade, and deprived of Ayatollah Khomeini's leadership, the Islamic Republic is moving into a new phase colored by ideological compromise, internal power sharing, and reconciliation with the United States. In terms of a descriptive definition of fundamentalism, this current status underlines two features: the strength of the fundamentalists lies in their defining, through religious symbols, the opposition to a ruling regime; the problem facing the fundamentalists is the difficulty of translating their religious generalizations into sustainable governmental programs.

The debates on the Abu Sayyaf and Fundamentalism will help us develop a descriptive profile of the phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalism in the Philippines. It becomes clear that no simple definitions, as have been offered in much of the literature of the 1980s, are sufficient. The phenomenon is not monolithic. There are striking differences between and among Fundamentalist groups where the phenomenon has a longer history than anywhere else in the Muslim World, we find a broad spectrum of theory and praxis.

This is why many scholars refuse to use the term "fundamentalism," deeming it too imprecise to identify the complexity of trends that are actually involved. If we choose to retain the term, we need to think of fundamentalisms in the plural and to avoid generalization from the perspective of any one of them. (Prof. Eliseo ‘Jun’ Mercado, OMI – Notre Dame University, Graduate School)
(Note: This is an updated article originally published in ASG Primer. NDU 1998)

Monday, September 19, 2016

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Readings: Amos 6:1a, 4-7; 1Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31.
Selected Text:  "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores" (Luke 16: 19-21) 

Meditation:  The parable is a strong reminder to us that we cannot continue to dress in purple garments and dine sumptuously without the poor partaking at our table. The real challenge for us, believers, is the generosity to share our blessings with the poor. Our failure to do so is already the judgment that awaits is… Beware! Visit:  www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

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. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

To Kill in the Name of God is Satanic!

During this morning’s homily (September 14th, 2016), Pope Francis recalled that today marks the feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Speaking on this mystery, the Pontiff reflected how Fr. Hamel, like Christ, was obedient unto death.
The Holy Father reminded those present how Jesus was the first martyr, and ever since, the Church has had many martyrs, but today more than ever.
“Today, there are Christians martyred, tortured, slaughtered, because they do not deny Jesus Christ,” he said.
In this history of martyrdom, he noted, we arrive at that of Father Jacques, who is part of this chain of martyrs.
“This cruelty that asks for apostasy is – let’s say the word – satanic,” he said, noting, “How much I would like that all the confessions would say: to kill in the name of God is satanic.”
Father Jacques Hamel was slaughtered, just as he was celebrating the Sacrifice of Christ. “A good, meek man, who always was trying to make peace, was assassinated, as if he were a criminal.”
“This is the thread of satanic persecution,” Francis said, observing, “In the midst of the difficult time that he lived in the midst of this tragedy he saw coming, he did not lose the clarity of accusing and say the name of the assassination: ‘Go away, Satan!’”

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - Badal

Badal: St. 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 lass 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.     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.

“A person knows as much as he/she 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.     Francis of Assisi and Islam

In 1219 a meeting took place between Francis and Sultan al0Malik-al-Kamil of Egypt at Damietta (a Northern City in Egypt). It took place over a period of three week during the fifth Crusade.  The encounter had deep impact on both (Francis and the Sultan and his Vizier. 

The original call of then 5th Crusade in 1213 came with the Encyclical – Letter,  Quia Maior. The letter established a comprehensive practical as well as religious framework for the new crusade – support the crusade material and spiritually. The Letter and 4th Lateran Council and the Crusade presented Islam as the enemy of God; enemy of the faith and it was evil. This was in keeping with then approach taken by Bernard of Clairvaux in his call for the 2nd Crusade. Francis arrived at the Crusaders’ Camp and he tried to dissuade the soldiers to engage in combat. He foretold their defeat at Damietta.

There are two strands in the desire of Francis to meet the Sultan.  First was Francis’ FERVOUR OF CHARITY and 2nd was his DESIRE FOR MARTYRDOM.  The Sultan and his Vizier recognized in Francis the HOLINESS akin to the Muslim Sufi. The Vizier of the Sultan was a well-known and respected Sufi - Fakr-el-Din-Farsi (in his tomb were written these words: “this man’s virtue is know to all. His adventure with al-Malik al-Kamil and what happened to him because of the monk, all that is very famous”). They listened to him as Francis proposed to undertake the test of faith by fire to which Francis, the Sultan and his Vizier would endure.  The Sultan refused the challenge and but continued to respect Francis who eventually returned to the Crusaders’ Camp.  In the final farewell, the Sultan asked Francis to pray that he might receive from God a revelation as to which faith is most pleasing in God’s sight.

6.     The Impact of the Encounter on Francis, the Sultan and the Vizier?  The encounter between Francis, the Sultan and his Vizier was a powerful foundational experience that FREEs both of them from the limits of one’s vision and understanding of life. This foundational experience allows the possibility of movement from one horizon to another. And movement into a new horizon may involve what Fr. Lonergan speaks of as an “about face” – a new sequence that can keep revealing ever greater depth and breadth and wealth. Such an “about face” and new beginning is what is meant by a conversion.  Fr. Lonergan describes Conversion in Method in Theology as a “process of sublation that keeps all the essential features of what is sublated but carries these forward to find FULLER REALIZATION WITHIN A WIDER AND RICHER CONTEXT”.
·      The meeting or encounter between and among the ‘friends’ of God;
·      Appreciating the value each represents and criticizing their defects, yet allowing one’s living to be challenged at its very roots by their words and deeds;
·      Such an encounter is a way in which self-understanding n and horizon can be put to test.

Francis was never the same again after the encounter at Damietta…This found expression when he re-wrote Chapter 16 of the Rule.  He did NOT speak anymore of martyrdom but told his brothers who wished to go as missionaries to the Muslims “to heal the violence of the world; testify to their Christian faith by a simple, peaceable presence and a disposition to service”. He left respectful of Muslims to the point that he encouraged Christians to emulate them in prayer and prostration, and to join Muslms — and others — in service to all despite their different religions, and he specifically told his followers not to try and convert them. 

Having seen Muslim prayers while in Egypt he declared for his followers: “You should manifest such honour to the Lord among the people entrusted to you that every evening an announcement be made by a town crier or some other signal that praise and thanks may be given by all people to the all-powerful Lord God.”

And, “At the mention of His name you must adore Him with fear and reverence, prostrate on the ground ... so that in word and deed you may give witness to his voice and bring everyone to know that there is no one who is all-powerful but Him.” And instead of seeking converts among Muslims, in missionary work he charged his followers: “[The brothers] are not to engage in arguments or disputes, but to be subject to (serve) every human creature for God’s sake.”  Those words calling us all — Christian and non-Christian alike for the sake of our shared humanity under God-Most-High — to service Him alone.  Based on all that, I think it’s pretty obvious that in those three weeks St. Francis learned that Muslims were God’s people too.

And what did knowing St. Francis of Assisi do to Sultan al Malik al Kamel? Ten years later, in 1229, by diplomacy alone and by no act of warfare, he ceded control of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and a corridor from there to the sea to the Christians, saving only the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque for the Muslims, and the temple area for the Jews.

7.     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 (Pax et Bonun).  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.”

8.     The Role of Mediation…  During the Crusades, Francis had a profound impact on the Sultan and owing to his sympathy, tolerance and respect and love for peace.  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. 


    Final Note:  Francis was able to transform enmity to friendship; revulsion to love.  The stigmata was also intimately tied to his experience at Damietta. When Francis heard of all the preparations for yet another Crusade y the mighty army of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1224, Francis with few close companions went to La Verna to do a ‘Lent of St. Michael’ –an intense prayer and fasting on behalf of his brother al-Malik al-Kamil.  The mystical experience of Francis at La Verna is called the ‘Soul’s journey into God’.  The Stigmata of Francis was his identification of what signified in the Cross of Jesus.  St. Paul’s writing to the Ephesians says: “for he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility… that he may create in himself one new man in lace of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.  And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians 2: 14 – 17)

Bapa Eliseo “Jun” Mercado, OMI
Badaliyya – Philippines
September 29, 2016

Note: Sublation may refer to:
       Sublation, a translation of the German term aufheben
       Ritual purification, the purification or exaltation of matter by its negation or redirection

      (Source: Wikipedia)