Eager to love; Chapter Ten, “Entering the World of Another: Francis and the Sultan of Egypt”
Quote from page 153
The connection that Francis makes with “the enemy” in his lifetime might end up being his most powerful statement to the world about putting together in inner life with the outer, and all of its social, political, and ethnic implications. He also offers an invitation to – and an example for – the kind of interfaith dialogue that provides a much-needed “crossing of the borders” so we can understand other people at even basic levels. Like few other incidents in his life, Francis’s meeting with the Sultan of Egypt took him far beyond the usual saccharine portrayals of him. Francis’s kind of border crossing is urgently needed in our own time, when many of the exact same Christian-Muslim issues are at play all over again.
- What “crossing of the borders” experiences have you had and what effect did they have on you?
Quote from page 158
Francis made it clear to his friars in his most primitive Rule that the first way of being among the “Saracens” is “not to engage in arguments or disputes, but to be subject to every human creature for God’s sake and to [be content] to confess that they [themselves] are Christians.” (Today, we call this the “ministry of presence.”) We can only assume this is what he himself had done in 1219, and he then urged that friars should only resort to formal preaching if they could see it as God’s will, ”a phrase (in’shallah) that he might have learned from Islam’s common use of it.
- How have you practiced a “ministry of presence”?