Humility Matters for Practicing the Spiritual Life

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9780826417282: Humility Matters for Practicing the Spiritual Life
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This is the third volume of a trilogy that began with Thoughts Matter: The Practice of the Spiritual Life and continued with Tools Matter for Practicing the Spiritual Life. Thoughts Matter was an update of the teaching of the fourth-century desert father John Cassian on the eight 'afflictive thoughts' that impede the spiritual life (thoughts about food, sex, 'things', anger, etc.). Tools Matter presented a wide variety of practices from the Christian tradition, both ancient and modern, that help us lift our thoughts in prayer: practices such as lectio divina, the Jesus Prayer, the Cloud of Unknowing, St Therese's Little Way, Jean-Pierre de Caussade's Practice of Self-Abandonment. The springboard for Humility Matters is the teaching on humility of St. Benedict, but the pool itself has been enriched by the fifteen years Sr. Funk spent in interreligious dialogue. 'Humility', she says, 'is the essence of being human. Humility for a disciple of Jesus Christ is what enlightenment is for a Buddhist, surrender for a Muslim, realization for a Hindu, and sincerity for a Confucian.'>

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About the Author:

Mary Margaret Funk is a Benedictine nun of Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, Indiana, USA. From 1994 through 2004, she served as executive director of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, which fosters dialogue among monastics of the world's religions. In addition to her books Thoughts Matter, Tools Matter, Humility Matters, Islam Is, and Into the Depths, chapters by her have appeared in The Gethsemani Encounter, Benedict's Dharma, Purity of Heart, and Transforming Suffering. Currently she maintains her web page, megfunk.com, to provide further support for her readers.

Review:

""Humility matters," writes Mary Margaret Funk in this third volume of a trilogy (Thoughts Matter: The Practice of the Spiritual Life and Tools Matter for Practicing the Spiritual Life)... This volume nicely complements the other two, and together they comprise a wonderful compendium of spiritual practices for Christians. There are thought-provoking pieces on feasting, hospitality, reverencing things, patience as an antidote to anger, the sin of sadness, the beneficial sides of afflictions, and more. Funk's experience for 15 years in interreligious dialogue gives her work a rounded perspective." - Spirituality & Health (Spirituality and Health)

"Humility Matters for Practicing the Spiritual Life by Mary Margaret
Funk is the third volume of a trilogy (Thoughts
Matter: The Practice of the Spiritual Life
and Tools Matter for Practicing the Spiritual Life), and it nicely
complements the other two. Together they comprise a wonderful compendium of
spiritual practices for Christians. There are though-provoking pieces on
fasting, hospitality, reverencing things, patience as an antidote to anger, the
sin of sadness, the beneficial sides of afflictions and more."- The Lutheran, February 2006




"This book is not a casual read; it is very deep at times, requiring careful reading and thought. It could be used as a private retreat. The reader should not be thwarted if this book looks difficult to read and understand. It is not a book to leisurely read, but it is a book that will help your spiritual life. It is not based on Easter religion like Hinduism or Buddhism; it is based on ancient Christian spirituality that has been tried and found to be helpful." -Curled Up With a Good Book at



"Of her three books, this one seems to be the easiest to read. It is enhanced by her experience with monastics of other faith traditions. In her introduction, she writes: "Humility matters. It is at the core of our experience of life in Christ. So central is this quality of being that it may be said that humility is for a Christian what enlightenment is for a Buddhist, realization is for a Hindu, sincerity is for a Confucian, righteousness is for a Jew, surrender is for a Muslim, and annihilation is for a Sufi... Sr. Meg reminds us of the four renunciations (of our former way of life, the thoughts and desires of our former way of life, our self-made thoughts of God, and our self-made thoughts of self). She calls on St.Teresa of Avila to help us understand the third renunciation, and on St Therese of Lisieux for the fourth renunciation... The very end of their discussion seems to echo what Therese of Lisieux has said in her interview earlier: "Humility transmutes suffering into redeeming love for the healing of the world" (135)- Benedictines, December 2006


"Sister Mary Margaret Funk combines her vast experience as a Benedictine nun, retreat leader, scholar on spirituality and prayer, and former director of East-West monastic dialogue in writing this little gem...I particularly liked her technique of asking each saint contemporary questions, which gave insight into their practice of humility. This small book is a real treasure and should be an immense help for those on a serious spiritual search, either on retreat, at home or even in a book club. The appendices provide more suggestions and scriptural references for deeper meditation."

(St. Anthony Messenger)

"This is a good book for anyone who would like to learn more about the meaning of humility and how it works for Christians. This would make a good supplement to a church library's work on spiritual practice." -Rynette McGee, Congregational Libraries Today, May/ June 2008 (Rynette McGee)

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