Lantern's favorite Benedictine nun visited us the other day: Sr. Mary Margaret Funk
, of Our Lady of Grace Monastery
, formerly executive director of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue
and author of one our books, Islam Is. . .
. She was bearing a copy of her latest work, Humility Matters
, which continues her analysis of the particular disciplines and gifts that the work of the Desert Father John Cassian
brings to contemporary spiritual practice.
Meg has been dialoguing with Muslims, as well as Buddhists and Hindus, for many years now, and is more convinced than ever that dialogue is the way forward—no matter how challenging and complicated, even one-sided, it may seem. And by dialogue is not meant diatribe or sermon or finger-wagging, but a deep listening that fully hears
what is being said to you, and by you. It also means being open to the possibility that not only may you challenge and change your dialogue partner's mind but that both may happen to you.
An example of that very thing is the subject of a forthcoming book from Lantern, The Common Heart. . .
. Over a twenty-year period, a group of monastics and spiritual teachers met and did a radical thing: they talked with each other. The result was that they learned and changed and deepened their understanding of themselves, each other, each other's religious practice, and their own. They learned that respect and honesty trumped grandstanding and doctrinal rigidity at every moment, and that underneath the difference in skin color, culture, political persuasion, in ritual and concepts of the divine, lay one thing: a common heart.