If it should happen one day -- and it could be today --
I become a victim of the terrorism that now seems ready to encompass
foreigners in Algeria,
I would like my community, my church, my
to remember that my life was GIVEN to God and to this country.
accept that the One Master of all life was not a stranger to this brutal
I would like them to pray for me:
How worthy would I be found
of such an offering?
I would like them to be able to associate this death
with so many other equally violent ones
allowed to fall into the
indifference of anonymity.
My life has no more value than any other. Nor any
In any case, it has not the innocence of childhood.
lived long enough to know that I share in the evil
that seems, alas, to
prevail in the world,
and even in that which would strike me blindly.
should like, when the time comes, to have a space of lucidity
enable me to beg forgiveness of God and of my fellow human beings,
the same time to forgive with all my heart the one who would strike me
I could not desire such a death.
It seems to me important to
I don't 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 be called, perhaps, the "grace of martyrdom"
to owe this
to an Algerian, whoever he may be,
especially if he says he is acting in
fidelity to what he believes to be Islam.
I know the contempt in which
Algerians taken as a whole can be engulfed.
I know, too, the caricatures of
Islam that encourage a certain idealism.
It is too easy to give oneself a
in identifying this religious way with the fundamentalist
ideology of its extremists.
For me, Algeria and Islam is something
different. It is a body and a soul.
I have proclaimed it often enough, I
think, in view of
and in the knowledge of what I have received from it,
finding there so often that true strand of the gospel learned at my mother's
my very first church,
precisely in Algeria, and already respecting
My death, obviously, will appear to confirm those who
hastily judged me naive or idealistic:
"Let him tell us now what he thinks
but these must know that my insistent curiosity will then be set
This is what I shall be able to do, if God wills:
immerse my gaze
in that of the Father,
to contemplate with Him His children of Islam as He
all shining with the glory of Christ,
fruit of His Passion,
filled with the Gift of the Spirit
whose secret joy will always be to
and to refashion the likeness, playing with the
This life lost, totally mine and totally theirs,
I thank God
who seems to have wished it entirely
for the sake of that JOY in 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, O my friends of this place,
besides my mother and father, my
sisters and brothers and their families,
a hundredfold as was promised!
And you too, my last minute friend, who will not know what you are doing,
Yes, for you too I say this THANK YOU AND THIS "A-DIEU" -- to commend you to
this God in whose face I see yours.
And may we find each other, happy "good
thieves" in Paradise,
if it please God, the Father of us both. AMEN!