Written from her deep experience in the monastic tradition, Sister Mary Margaret Funk shows us that, with faith and our given vocations, we are more than strong enough to resist and renounce the violence in the world around us. This book offers, both for personal use and for the broader community, a teaching for our troubled times, a teaching that empowers the reader to renounce violence in all its bold and subtle forms. As a concrete example, Funk retrieves the practice and symbolism of using holy water to bless, cleanse, and free us from violence wherever it is emerging-in our personal lives and in our world. This practice has thrived in the monastic tradition and has a language with a voice.
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.
"In the current time, violence is pervasive and pronounced. Violence grips our collective and individual spirits. In her book, Renouncing Violence, Sr. Meg Funk skillfully invites us to return to the deep-seated roots of the monastic tradition in an effort to renounce that which has taken hold of us during this tenuous and volatile time. By renouncing violence in all forms, we rediscover who we are and return to that which we are called to be—people of love and compassion, becoming healers for that which violence has destroyed. As Sr. Meg emphatically states throughout her book, in renouncing violence we shift from harm to healing. Renouncing Violence is needed now more than ever. The book invites us all to practice training our minds and hearts from self-consciousness to God-consciousness for a world in desperate need of peace, reconciliation, and freedom from the forces of evil."
Mary M. Heintzkill, MTS, BCC, Director of Spiritual Care and Mission Integration, Ascension
"In the face of almost overwhelming anger and violence active in our culture and world-at-large, we ask, `How can we bring about healing and reconciliation?' Sr. Mary Margaret Funk offers a means: inner work. With the grace of the Holy Spirit, we can train our minds to uproot angry thoughts and actions that fuel violence in our world. Renouncing Violence is a timely, important, and practical guide to the necessary inner work to become vessels of healing in our world."
Fr. Daniel Chowning, OCD
"In the book Renouncing Violence, Sr. Mary Margaret Funk takes a uniquely monastic view of violence and its end. There are no charts or graphs on violence, but rather windows into her monastic practice, wisdom, and faith. I enjoyed and learned the most from her personal stories and self-reflection, going deep into her own anger, searching for a solution and ultimately finding it. Her understanding of thoughts and where they came from, helped along by her many years of work with Buddhists was particularly interesting and useful. The phrase, `World peace begins with inner peace' seems to be the heart and soul of this book."
Ven. Kusala Bhikshu
"Once again Sister Meg has taken the ancient desert spirituality and made it meaningful for twenty-first century city dwellers. She has a wonderful way of being faithful to her Roman Catholic tradition while stretching us to experience God's all-encompassing compassionate love. Meg turns the tables on some age-old interpretations of Jesus' behavior in the temple; the wrathful God who demands atonement for our sins and the Church as God's instrument for punishment.
"She is an excellent teacher. As a Benedictine living in Mexico and often surrounded by violence, I might have preferred a `quick fix' to my situation; but then anyone who knows Meg Funk would never go to her for easy, `out-there' solutions to their problems. A word of advice: don't miss the appendices."
Patricia Henry, OSB, Monasterio Pan de Vida, Torreon, Mexico
"This is a necessary book at a time when, as Meg Funk puts it, we are `in a global bad mood,' and angry voices and violent actions grab the headlines. She makes a convincing argument that the Christian tradition—in Scripture, in the life and death of Jesus, in the coming of the Holy Spirit, and in the practice of prayer—offers a way out of retaliation and violence. As challenging as this book is, it is also reassuring: if the renunciation of violence is our response to the magnitude of God's love for us, Funk asserts that it is the Spirit who gives us the capacity to find our way to reconciliation and peace."
Kathleen Norris, Author of Dakota: A Spiritual Geography and The Cloister Walk