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 a updating 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 inter religious 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."
Mary Margaret Funk, OSB, is director of the School of Lectio Divina at Benedict Inn, Beech Grove Indiana. From 1994 through 2004, she served as executive director of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.