It is too easy to give oneself a good conscience 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 knee, my very first church,
precisely in Algeria, and already respecting believing Muslims.
My death, obviously, will appear to confirm those who
hastily judged me naive or idealistic: "Let him tell us now what he thinks of
it!" But these must know that my insistent curiosity will then be set free. 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 sees them, 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 establish communion and to
refashion the likeness, playing with the differences.
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 "ADIEU" — 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 pleases God,
the Father of us both. AMEN!