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In one of its very early instructions on interfaith dialogue, a Vatican directive noted that there are four levels to true and meaningful dialogue:

  1. We must first dialogue on the level of HEART wherein we engage one another as partners, sharing as brothers and sisters in the creation of God.
  2. Our dialogue must be one of DAILY LIFE wherein together we promote human values which we share with God as our guarantor.
  3. In the dialogue of SPEECH, we must speak of God and humanity, setting aside our distractions with things of power, wealth and all that is not essential to God and humankind.
  4. Finally, and of greatest importance is the dialogue of SILENCE, so that God might speak with us and to us; that He might speak to the heart of each person directly so that we may act and speak as His true servants.

It was in this spirit that we reflected with Rabbi Leon Klenicki both to share our concerns and understanding of where we find ourselves in history at this moment. How best might we together reach beyond the difficulties and tragedies of history to serve as a bridge of peace? How may we best share Heart, Daily Life, Speech, and Silence as God’s creatures to establish and maintain a meaningful relationship with God?

Unfortunately, in our societies today, we still have groups of people who suffer from prejudice. Hence, the work of dialogue, and most especially interfaith dialogue is essential. If we are to gain understanding of ourselves as creatures of God, we have to find that within our diversity of traditions we are united as children of God.

To attain this unity through diversity, we must be willing to open ourselves in faith to one another. Therefore, we must educate one another to see that a difference of traditions is not an evil to be corrected, but rather a manifestation of the diversity of God’s children.

It is in this difficult and delicate task that Rabbi Leon Klenicki’s labors on behalf of all peoples to see that prejudice is properly identified and through prayerful reconciliation, abolished.

As a man of faith, Rabbi Klenicki labors to share with the Christian Community the heart, daily life and speech of his Jewish confreres while we seek to hear in silence the goodness of God whose creatures we are.

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Brother David is special assistant to the Secretary General of Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

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Tags: CNEWA Unity Interreligious Catholic-Jewish Dialogue