October 20, 2012
From October 12-15, Abbot James attended the annual board meeting of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (MID), held this time at the Camaldolese Hermitage in Big Sur, California. The board is responsible for coordinating ways in which members of Benedictine and Cistercian communities in North America can enter into dialogue with persons belonging to other religious traditions, especially Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. At this year’s meeting, a special guest was Fr. William Skudlarek, the secretary general of the world organization Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique/Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, of which the North American MID is one branch. He reported on the progress of the new journal Dilatato Corde (“with an expanded heart”), an on-line, international, multi-language journal rooted in the Christian monastic experience of interreligious dialogue. Further information about this may be found at www.dimmid.org
The board also discussed in a preliminary way the planning for the fourth Gethsemani Encounter, scheduled for the spring of 2015 at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky on the theme of spiritual maturity. The previous three encounters between Buddhist and Christian monastics were held at the same abbey in 1996, 2002, and 2008 and have come to be recognized as models for how interreligious dialogue can be fruitfully practiced.