- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Continuum; 1 edition (December 16, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1441133097
- ISBN-13: 978-1441133090
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,777,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Humility Matters for Practicing the Spiritual Life 1st Edition
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"Humility Matters for Practicing the Spiritual Life by Mary MargaretFunk is the third volume of a trilogy (ThoughtsMatter: The Practice of the Spiritual Life and Tools Matter for Practicing the Spiritual Life), and it nicelycomplements the other two. Together they compromise a wonderful compendium ofspiritual practices for Christians. There are though-provoking pieces onfasting, hospitality, reverencing things, patience as an antidote to anger, thesin of sadness, the beneficial sides of afflictions and more."- The Lutheran, February 2006
Curled Up With a Good Book at www.curledup.com
"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."
“Humility Matters for Practicing the Spiritual Life by Mary MargaretFunk is the third volume of a trilogy (ThoughtsMatter: The Practice of the Spiritual Life and Tools Matter for Practicing the Spiritual Life), and it nicelycomplements the other two. Together they compromise a wonderful compendium ofspiritual practices for Christians. There are though-provoking pieces onfasting, hospitality, reverencing things, patience as an antidote to anger, thesin of sadness, the beneficial sides of afflictions and more.”- The Lutheran, February 2006
Curled Up With a Good Book at www.curledup.com
"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."
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.
Top customer reviews
First point: The book is for anyone interested in living life with greater practice and aptitude for humility. If you are interested in the subject "humility," or as a Christian in living a deeper spiritual life, this closely written book is for you.
The book is published by The Continuum International Publishing Group (2005 copyright by Sisters of St. Benedict of Beech Grove, Indiana, Inc.). The copyright holder name is an indication of how current this title is and how savvy a book this is, the fact that a corporation of Sisters owns the copyright. How contemporary, and to have an introduction by the Dalai Lama!).
"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." That from the flyleaf of the dustcover. The only book of the trilogy I've read is the one on humility, which is based on Rule of St. Benedict teachings. Sister Mary is Benedictine, as you recognize and for those interested in Benedict and living a better kind of life, the 186-page book (with notes) is more than acceptable, it is an asset. Interested in Christian living, read this book. Keep in mind the book is not a casual read.
Second point: Christian living is based on a belief in Jesus. It is also an expression of living life in community, and expressing that way of life through various disciplines and practices, mostly guided by the community. In this manner, the book is written from a Christian perspective, albeit Roman Catholic. Why have a Buddhist write the introduction? He likes what Sister Mary says. The forward answers the question, and here is insight the spiritual leader gives when he writes, "Humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of transformation, although this may seem at odds with our need for confidence. But just as there is clearly a distinction between valid confidence, in the sense of self-esteem, and conceit, so it is important to distinguish between genuine humility, which is a kind of modesty, and lack of confidence" (from the forward by the Dalai Lama.)
Third point: Surprisingly, Humility Matters is genuine in its value to interreligious dialogue for it speaks to a cross section of believers. Sister Mary served as executive director of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, a group fostering dialogue among monastics of the world's religions.
A statement that is basic to Christians and believers in God is one step proposed by the writer. Relying on various sources of religious living, it is clearly inspirational and basic to consider this suggestion from the writings of John Cassian: "...to renounce our self-made thoughts of God." I find this Biblical, and like the teaching in this book based on wisdom sources. The book is a source of wisdom for the reader, with many directions to consider, and even meditate upon.
One imaginative way Sister Mary brings these directions to life is through a play-like series of interviews with wisdom teachers from the long ago past. She interviews John Cassian, Teresa of Jesus The Illuminative Way, and holds a like imaginative dialogue with Therese of Lisieux. In a meditation Sister Mary writes, "In this book we have taken a long look at how we can respond to grace in order to empty ourselves of all...This journey is often called `The Way.'"
A means of God consciousness, the book brings the interreligious dialogue along, as well as aids the Christian in his or her journey. Sister Mary writes in her introduction, "The external journey above the river is to do good and avoid evil. The spiritual journey starts with this plunge into the unseen, the interior life." The Dalai Lama says in his forward, "Humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of transformation although this may seem to be at odds with our need for confidence." A goal for the Buddhist is mindfulness. For the Christian, it is humility. The book points the reader in the direction of a deeper life, in a life more mindful.
Fourth point: In our consumer society we need things, so advertising tells us-- persuasively. Listing renunciation of "things" leads to better understanding and control of ones life, and is a subject of the book. In writing of these afflictions, she addresses food and sex, among other conditions mankind lives with and with which one needs to make various kinds of peace. The book is about having peace in ones life.
Conclusion: I like the section, "Thoughts on Vainglory." From a lectio divina section of the book she quotes Proverbs in the Bible: "Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil." In many ways this is a book about living a better life, a life that turns away from evil and towards good. It is about living a life that finds greater meaning, and that is interested in living a more holy life in God.
The book is not out of the reach of the intelligent reader; the suggestions and outlines are within the grasp of the ordinary person who desires a stronger inner life, and a better life in common with others. This book points in the direction of Luke, quoting, "...what must I do to inherit eternal life?" The response by the writer is to turn towards God; "No one is good but God alone." Consider the book a gentle exhortation.
--Peter Menkin, 7th Sunday of Easter 2007
John Cassian, scripture, lectio divina, the Rule of St. Benedict and other sources give substance to this excellent work. Written primarily for monastics by one who lives the monastic life, HUMILITY MATTERS is also of benefit to others pursuing the contemplative way. It is for those relatively free of worldly concerns because it requires labor, time, silence, solitude, discipline and prayer to focus on the challenges in practicing the spiritual life. Inner peace is a fruit of this endeavor.
Be not discouraged if the contemplative way is not for you at this time. From Exodus 3, Sr. Meg reminds us that "God will be who God will be" for each person. Grace has its mysterious and unique way in us and grace will lead us home.
Read this treasure of a book then, and recollect that "As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be:humility matters." (p.141)
However, as I started to read the book I had a very strong sense of deja vu. This was basically a repeat of Thoughts Matter. Everything in that book was repeated again in the first half or more of Humility Matters. It wasn't till page 117 that "we are ready now for the teachings on humility from the desert tradition." The book is only 141 pages ( followed by appendixes), so the fact we only get into the teachings on humility on page 117 says something.
I felt the book spoke very little about humility. It simply covered teachings already covered in Thoughts Matter (which I loved and five 5 stars!)
I found the imaginary dialogue with long dead saints kind of strange and must admit I skimmed over those sections. While it seems other reviewers found this technique very helpful I did not. Just a matter of taste I suppose.
I love Sr. Meg's other books and that's probably why I felt disappointed in this one. I didn't find much new. I felt that I had bought the book Thoughts Matter twice!