Perhaps the richest moments for me at this interfaith symposium have been dialogs with Rolf Fernandez, who lived as a Franciscan monk for over 40 years and now serves in the capacity of a lay minister. His down to earth devotion to the divine, acceptance and friendliness toward all whom he meets, and disciplined daily meditation practice (a regular minimum 2 hour daily meditation) for nearly 50 years is a testament to the beauty of the spiritual life.
Brother Rolf spoke eloquently about 3 kinds of prayer: the prayer of beseeching, the prayer of thanksgiving, and the prayer of silence. He described the prayer of silence as a silent openness to the moment and the presence of god. Christian meditation, seeking this intimacy with the divine, opens the heart to love and dissolves the petty squabbles based on protecting a separate self.
Although Buddhism does not share the quest for “unity with the divine” or affirm the loving grace of a creator God, meditation certainly brings forth divine qualities in all who take the time to mediate. Sitting with Brother Rolf, sharing the silence and the sound together, has been a gift for which I feel tremendous gratitude.