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Christian Responses

Response from Abbot Mark Serna, O.S.B.

Fr. Mark Serna, OSB
Fr. Mark Serna, OSB

Monastic Interreligious Dialogue

On October 13, 2007, the end of Ramadan, Muslim scholars, clerics and authorities published an open letter addressed to Christian religious leaders throughout the world. The document is signed by 138 Muslims from every denomination and school of thought in Islam. Moreover, every major Islamic country or region in the world is represented in this message.

The Board of Directors of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (MID) wishes to express gratitude and appreciation for this important and serious gesture toward interreligious dialogue between Islam and Christianity. Muslims and Christians represent the largest number of people on the globe with a religious affiliation. It is imperative that we work together for the good of all the inhabitants of our world.

In particular, we are delighted that in this open letter, A Common Word between Us and You, the emphasis has been on our shared belief in the oneness of God and of humankind’s need to devote itself completely in love and submission to the absolute sovereignty and love of God, and on the ommandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.

This commandment is central, theologically and spiritually, to the belief and practice of all Muslims and Christians. It is to this core religious belief and practice that we, as Muslims and Christians, must turn if we are to live peacefully, respectfully, and cooperatively in today’s complex world. In union with the signatories of this open letter, we, as the two major religious traditions in the world, recognize that a stable global peace very much depends on how Muslims and Christians live in relationship with each other.

The deepest level of relationship between us must always be at the level of spiritual practice and experience.  Consequently, we, the Directors of MID, endorse this call by our brother and sister Muslims to ongoing dialogue at this deepest level where we discover the one God who claims all of us as his children, to whom we owe our submission of heart, soul, and mind, and the One whose love and mercy moves us to selfless love of all our neighbors, the familiar and the stranger.

Abbot Mark Serna, O.S.B.

Monastic Interreligious Dialogue is the North American branch of Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique/Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIM/MID, an international network of Benedictine and Cistercian monks founded in 1978 to promote interreligious dialogue, giving special attention to the dialogue of spiritual experience. The history and accomplishments of MID, as well as past and current Bulletins, can be found on the MID website:www.monasticdialogue.org