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Practicing Monasticism Collection (5 vols.)
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Practicing Monasticism Collection (5 vols.)

by

Liturgical Press 2013

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Gathering Interest

Overview

In this series, Sr. Mary Margaret Funk offers the foundational theory and practice of the early monastic way of life—demonstrating why this inner work is as necessary today as ever. A respected spiritual director, Funk provides specific examples on living a Spirit-centered life and draws upon the wisdom of St. Benedict and others for further illustration. She guides readers on lectio divina, and gaining freedom from preoccupations such as food, sex, possessions, anger, dejection, and pride.

One of the most comprehensive presentations of the spiritual life available today, this series shows us why the inner work of monasticism is both necessary and joyful for Christians who practice it—throughout history and today.

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Key Features

  • Provides guidance from a respected spiritual director
  • Offers a comprehensive presentation on the spiritual life
  • Guides readers through spiritual practices such as lectio divina

Product Details

Individual Titles

Discernment Matters: Listening with the Ear of the Heart

  • Author: Mary Margaret Funk
  • Series: The Matters Series
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 256

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

After 50 years of monastic life, prayer, and spiritual direction, Sr. Mary Margaret “Meg” Funk knows what it means to listen with the ear of one’s heart to the Holy Spirit. In Discernment Matters, she shares what she has learned. This book is a resource for those who want to learn and practice discernment as taught by the early monastic tradition. It includes an accessible summary of teachings about discernment from monastic traditions of late antiquity, consideration of important tools for making decisions today, and practical examples from the lives of St. Benedict and St. Patrick, as well as from the experience of monastics today.

A particular value of Sr. Meg Funk’s latest book is that she doesn’t speak only in generalities about discernment but gives specific examples of how she and others have gone about making God-centered decisions. In addition, she provides a very helpful summary of the core teachings of classic spiritual writers like Bro. Lawrence of the Resurrection and St. Teresa of Ávila.

—James Wiseman, OSB, author, Spirituality and Mysticism: A Global View

Sister Funk offers the reader a helpful synthesis of the theology and practice of the Christian discernment tradition. Contemporary readers will be gently challenged to examine and reorient the way that they have allowed themselves to develop ‘the discerning heart.’ Funk’s story of her personal journey will be helpful to pastors, spiritual guides, and students of the Christian spiritual tradition.

—Howard Gray, SJ, special assistant to the president, Georgetown University

Humility Matters: Toward Purity of Heart

  • Author: Mary Margaret Funk
  • Series: The Matters Series
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 208

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Humility Matters claims that humility is for Christ’s disciples what enlightenment is for a Buddhist, realization for a Hindu, surrender for a Muslim, and righteousness for a Jew. It is the unmistakable character of one who has accepted the vocation to undertake the spiritual journey. It is at the core of our experience of life in Christ.

Mary Margaret Funk guides readers deeper into a life of humility by following the movement of what the early Christians called the four renunciations: to renounce our former way of life, our thoughts of our former way of life, our self-made thoughts of God, and our self-made thoughts of ourselves. With the help of the compelling examples of St. Benedict, St. Teresa of Jesus, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Funk shows the way to ongoing conversion of mind, heart, and way of life.

Lectio Matters: Before the Burning Bush

  • Author: Mary Margaret Funk
  • Series: The Matters Series
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 224

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Lectio divina is a way of praying by sustained immersion into a revelatory text. While Scripture is the classic place of encounter with God, the text could also be the book of life or the book of nature.

In Lectio Matters, respected spiritual director Mary Margaret Funk accompanies the reader in exploring the various levels of lectio divina as taught by the ancient church writers and by sharing her own long experience. By means of this wisdom both ancient and new, lectio divina can become our burning bush, a real encounter with the living God, in which we take off our sandals and lower our brow to the ground.

Thoughts Matter: Discovering the Spiritual Journey

  • Author: Mary Margaret Funk
  • Series: The Matters Series
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 200

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Cassian taught that real intimacy with God in prayer demands renouncing one’s former way of life, the thoughts belonging to that former way of life, and one’s very idea of God. In Thoughts Matter, Mary Margaret Funk focuses on the second of these: renouncing the thoughts belonging to one’s former way of life. In eight chapters, she focuses on different “thoughts”—food, sex, anger, dejection, acedia (profound weariness of the soul), vainglory (taking credit for good actions), and pride.

Funk explains well how failure to control these thoughts can undermine our spiritual life, and she instructs readers on how effectively to overcome these thoughts and to focus instead on thoughts in harmony with God’s will. The result is an experience of joy, hope, and freedom from enslavement to our appetites. Readers will come away enlightened, strengthened, and inspired to delve more deeply into a life of intimacy with God.

Tools Matter: Beginning the Spiritual Journey

  • Author: Mary Margaret Funk
  • Series: The Matters Series
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 208

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

How can we tend the garden of our souls? Mary Margaret Funk turns to the wisdom of the desert fathers for the means of removing obstacles to spiritual growth, which include such weeds as thoughts of food, sex, possessions, anger, dejection, and pride, among other preoccupations. Redirecting thought can lead to a greater awareness of God and purity of prayer.

This method to mental discipline may seem impossible at first, Funk admits, but those who succeed at it are rewarded with a liberating experience as they come to observe and control individual thought processes. Drawing on the writings of the fifth-century monk John Cassian, Funk explores using such tools as memory, imagination, and rational thinking—tools right out of early Christianity—to work on inner healing. She also explains how other positive tools, such as ceaseless prayer, manual labor, and isolation, may lead to uncluttering the mind and purifying the heart.

About Mary Margaret Funk

Mary Margaret Funk is a Benedictine nun of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana. 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 the volumes of the Matters Series, she is the author of Islam Is: An Experience of Dialogue and Devotion and Into the Depths: A Journey of Loss and Vocation.