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Spiritual friendship begins with unity, and unity begins at the Cross of Christ. We need help learning how to approach and enter into dialogue with people of other faiths, lesser faith, or no faith, without denying our own beliefs. St. Pope John Paul believed this kind of communication is the key to evangelization in our day.
I once gave a version of this talk to Serra Club as “In Conversation with Islam,” and thoroughly enjoyed weaving in insights from Chiara Lubich and the Focolarini who graciously taught me about their charism of unity in Ottmaring, Germany. Focolare is officially known as The Way of Mary, and her way is unity in the Body of Christ – per the prayer of her Son as He faced the sense of being completely forsaken on the Cross. His self-abandonment to the Divine Will, and Mary’s yearning to help us “to be one” with one another are the keys to fruitful dialogue.