Dialogue of the Heart

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In Dialogue of the Heart, Benedictine Fr. Martin McGee presents a timely and heartfelt plea encouraging Christians everywhere to cultivate harmonious relationships with their Muslim neighbors.

With a touching account of the martyred Trappist monks of Tibhirine, Algeria, Fr. Martin reveals how this particular order provides an inspiring example by reaching out to their Muslim fellow-believers in modern-day North Africa. The monks’ story, recounted in the award-winning 2010 film Of Gods and Men, forms the backbone of this deeply affecting and thoughtful celebration of interreligious friendship.

By drawing on the inspiring witness of the Catholic Church in Algeria and Morocco, Fr. Martin sensitively illuminates the way in which Christians can connect sincerely in everyday life with their Muslim neighbors.

Martin McGee, OSB is a Benedictine monk and a chaplain in Worth Abbey School, Sussex. He is also the author of Christian Martyrs for a Muslim People (Paulist Press, 2008), which tells the poignant story of the nineteen priests and sisters assassinated by Islamic fundamentalists in Algeria in the mid-1990s.

Book Details

Dialogue of the Heart
Christian–Muslim Stories of Encounter
Martin McGee

Dialogue of the Heart Table of Contents (978-1-62698-239-0_toc.pdf, 47 Kb) [Download]

"Those who were fortunate enough to see the award-winning film Of Gods and Men will welcome McGee's take on the seven monks from the Trappist monastery of Tibhirine who were kidnapped by Muslim fundamentalists and later beheaded. Prior to the killings, the monks had a warm and respectful relationship with their Muslim neighbors. Their interaction modeled the real love and friendship that can flourish between Christians and Muslims."
Martin McGee offers the reader the profound example of being neighbor given by the monks of Tibhirine and the church in Algeria. We read about their caring for, listening to, and sharing prayer with their Muslim neighbors. In the West, many of us also live as neighbors to people of a different faith tradition. McGee’s book inspires us to reach out to our neighbor, in friendship above all. Otherwise, we are wasting our time.
Father McGee paints a powerful picture of why these monks in Algeria were in a privileged position to dialogue with their Muslim neighbors. It is due to their Benedictine tradition of humility which resonates strongly with the teaching of the Qur’an. Here is a much needed message for Christians and Muslims in our divided and violent world.
These moving, heart-to-heart encounters of Christians and Muslims in North Africa portray how coming to know a person from another religious tradition can be profoundly life-transforming, leading beyond fear to love. In a world too often marked by mutual suspicion, these engaging stories vividly demonstrate how the dialogue of life can bring Muslims and Christians together in transformative friendships and offer moments of grace.
In Dialogue of the Heart, Fr. McGee takes us into souls of the monks of Tibhirine, the seven monk martyrs for the Muslim people of Algeria and the two survivors, in greater depth than revealed thus far; and by placing their witness and mode of dialogue within the living context of the Church of Algeria, instructs us on the bold gospel message of encounter. The stories are edifying for contemporary Christian life and the overall message is one of joy for interreligious encounter and of peace for a world marred by violence.
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