May we meet again as happy thieves in Paradise

Testament of Dom Christian de Chergé

(opened on Pentecost Sunday, May 26, 1996)

 

Tombe_Christian_de_ChergéFacing a GOODBYE …

If it should happen one day — and it could be today — that I become a victim of the terrorism which now seems ready to engulf all the foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my Church and my family to remember that my life was GIVEN to God and to this country.

I ask them to accept the fact that the One Master of all life was not a stranger to this brutal departure.

I would ask them to pray for me: for how could I be found worthy of such an offering?

I ask them to associate this death with so many other equally violent ones which are forgotten through indifference or anonymity.

My life has no more value than any other. Nor any less value. In any case, it has not the innocence of childhood.

I have lived long enough to know that I am an accomplice in the evil which seems to prevail so terribly in the world, even in the evil which might blindly strike me down.

I should like, when the time comes, to have a moment of spiritual clarity which would allow me to beg forgiveness of God and of my fellow human beings, and at the same time forgive with all my heart the one who would strike me down.

I could not desire such a death. It seems to me important to state this.

I do not see, in fact, how I could rejoice if the people I love were indiscriminately accused of my murder.

It would be too high a price to pay for what will perhaps be called, the “grace of martyrdom” to owe it to an Algerian, whoever he might be, especially if he says he is acting in fidelity to what he believes to be Islam.

I am aware of the scorn which can be heaped on the Algerians indiscriminately.

I am also aware of the caricatures of Islam which a certain Islamism fosters.

It is too easy to soothe one’s conscience by identifying this religious way with the fundamentalist ideology of its extremists.

For me, Algeria and Islam are something different: it is a body and a soul.

I have proclaimed this often enough, I think, in the light of what I have received from it.

I so often find there that true strand of the Gospel which I learned at my mother’s knee, my very first Church, precisely in Algeria, and already inspired with respect for Muslim believers.

Obviously, my death will appear to confirm those who hastily judged me naive or idealistic:
“Let him tell us now what he thinks of his ideals!”

But these persons should know that finally my most avid curiosity will be set free.

This is what I shall be able to do, God willing: immerse my gaze in that of the Father to contemplate with him His children of Islam just as He sees them, all shining with the glory of Christ, the fruit of His Passion, filled with the Gift of the Spirit whose secret joy will always be to establish communion and restore the likeness, playing with the differences.

For this life lost, totally mine and totally theirs, I thank God, who seems to have willed it entirely for the sake of that JOY in everything and in spite of everything.

In this THANK YOU, which is said for everything in my life from now on, I certainly include you, friends of yesterday and today, and you, my friends of this place, along with my mother and father, my sisters and brothers and their families — you are the hundredfold granted as was promised!

And also you, my last-minute friend, who will not have known what you were doing:

Yes, I want this THANK YOU and this GOODBYE to be a “GOD BLESS” for you, too, because in God’s face I see yours.

May we meet again as happy thieves in Paradise, if it please God, the Father of us both.

AMEN! INCHALLAH!

Algiers, 1st December 1993
Tibhirine, 1st January 1994

Christian +

 

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/legacy-of-slain-monks-of-tibhirine-recounted-by-priest-who-was-in-ill-fated-monastery or http://bit.ly/1wa3a7I

Photograph:  http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_de_Cherg%C3%A9#Testament_et_gr.C3.A2ce_du_martyre_.3F

Related Posts

People of the book The true history of the Koran in America By Ted Widmer September 12, 2010 Nine years later, we are still haunted by Sept. 11, and in some ways ...
Lesley Hazleton: Accidental Theologist Lesley Hazleton at TEDxRainier: “Muhammad, You and Me” By Garibaldi, 08 December 2012   Lesley Hazleton, one of our favorite “anti-Loons” ...
Awkward questions One last letter before these portentous elections, a short compendium of awkward questions. Here’s hoping they all survive our small-town editor’s but...
Narrative of Western perfidy The myth of the murderous Muslim By Haroon Moghul, 03 Jan 2013 10:02   Muslims are subversive jihadists. The Middle East is perpetually un...
These are revolutionary times Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned...
After decades of instant vilification Boston explosions: 'Please don't be Arabs or Muslims' By Khaled A Beydoun, 16 Apr 2013 09:25   I texted my friend at 7:47am EST, extending...
A Dangerous New Threat   This young Jewish PhD candidate at the University of Chicago has written what I believe is an extremely insightful and timely essay --- o...
Hallowed? Ground Zero's Slave Graves By Jen Phillips, Wednesday August 25, 2010 4:32 PM PDT The outrage about the "ground zero mosque" has turned very ugl...
Blighted by imperialism Colonised and coloniser, empire's poison infects us all By George Monbiot, Monday 8 October 2012 15.30 EDT   Over the gates of Auschwitz w...
The need to generalise Why 'they' still don't hate 'us' By Mark LeVine, 26 Sep 2012 08:07   I knew the title to my second book would be Why They Don't Hate Us ...

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2015/02/21/may-we-meet-again-as-happy-thieves-in-paradise/

1 ping

  1. […] Wood’s recent article about ISIS in The Atlantic, Martin concluded with some thoughts about Christian de Chergé, a Trappist monk in Algeria who was killed in 1996.  Here’s what Christian wrote two years […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.