Does the arguing help us reach mystical union?



I’ve got a few simple guidelines that have helped me navigate this issue that’s served me well for the 5+ years I’ve been coming here.

First, St. John of the Cross teaches that the purification of our will of all it’s selfish clingings (opinions, opinions and more opinions) is typically one of the last things to occur in most people. So I’m not suprised at all by the “human-ness” we see around here . . . even amongst those who consider themselves knowledgeable and devout.

Second, St. John of the Cross also teaches we are to guard our interior peace very closely . . . and this is a very hard lessen to learn. Sometimes we think we can be a force of good simply through a well written turn of a phrase . . . and we assume others can be persuaded by our good thoughts and intentions. But often we are sadly mistaken . . . especially when we don’t make wise choices about what we read and respond to on these forums.

Bottom-line: if we find our peace disturbed by what we see on these forums - can’t recollect ourselves in prayer, composing posts in our mind when we should be doing other things, having mental arguements with one of the bullies - then it’s good to take our leave. Simply put, we’ve become “attached” and are “inordinately clinging.” And very little good ever comes when we’re in that state. So a good approach is to limit our viewing/posting to those discussions in which people are being raised up . . . and not torn down. Hearts can’t be changed if they’re not open in the first place. In such situations we’d do well to follow the counsel of the Saints that “God will take care of His own.”

Lastly, if we feel compelled we “must” jump in one of those contentious discussions it’s best to get in and get out quickly . . . again so that peace can be maintained. The way I see it, the post will be positively noticed by “whom it was meant to serve” – ie, typically those following along with an open mind but not necessarily commenting. And, by definition, that excludes the bullies so belaboring our point serves little useful purpose anyway.

Hope this helps,
Dave :slight_smile:

Still facing backlash from conversion

Helps me DBT. Thanks.:flowers:


Simply said…Thank you, JR.

God bless you,


good thread…

An Eastern Orthodox Saint once said (I’m sorry I forget which one…)
“acquire a peaceful spirit and thousands around you shall be saved.” :slight_smile:

I think if we seek to *live out *the Gospel, others would join… but if we only talk, that would not convince anyone.

Sadly I fail a lot :frowning: I tend to argue a lot, but I know I shouldn’t :frowning:


This is so very true. We have a tradition in the Franciscan family of keeping silence during conflict. I know that many lay people find this disturbing, because they think that we’re not interested or worse, that we approve of that which is wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth.

One thing that St. Francis taught us about poverty is this. Poverty is detachment from everything that keeps us from seeing Christ, hearing Christ and being Christ. St. Francis always taught his brothers and sisters to imitate Jesus as literally as possible. One thing that we see in the scripures is how Jesus responds when spoken to by the Pharisees and the Saducees, but he does not go seeking them out to engage them in debates. He spends his time and energy teaching those souls who are fertile and when he’s not teaching he’s engaging with his fraternity (the apostles) or in contemplation.

The tendency on CAF reminds me of my father when he got his first hunting dog, “Go get 'em Rover.” LOL


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Franciscan tradition on silence in conflict - please help with more information

Thank you Br. JR for sharring all of your thoughts on this thread.
It is what I know in my heart but I am still fighting with my own weaknesses and have a hard time being able to put these words into action all the time.
Thank you for reminding me to do this.


I agree. I haven’t been a member here for very long, but I have “lurked” in a lot of the threads and looked back and read old threads and I see a lot of them go into arguing and debating and sometimes it gets very heated and feelings get hurt. I think we should be praying for each other and trying to lift each other up. Not tear each other down just for having a differing opinion.


I just read a thread on something that Fr. McBrien wrote on the Eucharistic Adoration. I believe it’s in the Catholic News sub-forum. Anyway, the case is that Father holds the opinion that Eucharistic adoration is no longer necessary. I disagree with him and so do many other people.

However, the point is this. Almost every single post on the thread jumps and calls the man a heretic, compares him to the devil, calls him a dissenter, a Protestant and anything else. The posters go as far as referring to him by his last name, when the article itself refers to him as Father. In other words, the posters have taken the liberty of laicizing this man.

The fact is that the man has not said anything that is heretical. Adoration is not a dogma, not a commandment, not a doctrine. It is a tradition, a pious practice and a cult that is strongly recommended by the Church and by her saints. You can in fact believe that it is not necessary, since the Church does not require us to attend Eucharistic adoration. Again, I do not agree with Fr. McBrien.

My point is that when you read such an article and you post on these threads, it is legitimate to say why you disagree with him. But the question is this. Is it legitimate to call someone a heretic and other such language, when the Church would not apply such terms to that person?

The second question is how much damage does it do to me when I get so emotional that I begin to call someone a heretic, when in fact they are in good standing with the Church, even if they hold an opinion that is unpopular?

If I am calling someone a name such as heretic and the crime does not meet the Church’s criteria for heresy, am I sinning against justice?

If I am sinning against justice, does that help my journey toward union with God?

In fact, if being on CAF causes me to sin against justices, do I belong here? Do I belong on certain threads?

The mystical journey has as its fruit truth in charity, not aggression.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


If you keep sharring your insight that you are sharring here.
I am asking you to please stay. but if you sense that it is pulling you away from God I will understand why you need to leave but I would like to keep conversing with you outside of the forums.

Humbly listening to you and sharring the dilemma you are facing.


I’m very glad I came across this thread, having just ploughed my way through a rather unedifying thread where there were a lot of quite un-Christian things being said.

I am a member of the Legion of Mary, and we are counselled to behave with great humility in our interactions with our fellow human beings, something I sometimes forget when I read through the forums and feel the urge to jump in and tell people what nonsense they’re talking! :o

A lot of the arguments on here are, I think, quite damaging to those who get involved and not a good example to set for non-Catholics.


****Simple Soul **** Humbly listening to you and sharring the dilemma you are facing.

Please let me clarify. I’m not facing a dilemma. I just avoid some posters and I usually stop participating when the posting goes on and one without anythign but attack and counter attack. My concern is for those who stay in there. I’m not sure what they get out of it, if anything. I often wonder if these are just lonely people who have no other form of distraction of anything to challenge their mind and occupy their time. Why else would anyone give up their inner peace and silence to be blasted on an internet thread?

But as a religious and someone who has committed his life to the dignity of human life, I find that these kinds of interactions are also a violation to the dignity of human life. Human life is not meant to be spent fighting. There are times when one has to fight to get out of an oppressive situation. But for the most part, we must avoid getting into such situations. The idea is to speak the truth and keep going. Never give the enemy a chance to engage you, because he can drain you. I am concerned that so many of our brothers and sisters are doing just that. They are allowing themselves to be drained. Where are they going to find the energy to love, to pray, to do penance, to serve?

ora pro nobis A lot of the arguments on here are, I think, quite damaging to those who get involved and not a good example to set for non-Catholics.

This is an important point. Not only are the arguments damaging to those who argue, but they are not a good example to those who are lurking. Sometimes, even when you’re speaking the truth you can set a poor example of Christianity. I’ve always beleived that perception is everything. How we say things leaves an impression on the person who is observing. More often than not, the impression speaks louder than what we have said. We can often speak the greatest truth and not be heard, because our delivery speaks even louder.

I believe that’s the reason that some of our most famous and endearing saints are usually those who are the most simple and gentle. While they may not have very deep teachings, their humility and their great sensitivity leaves a deep impression on the listener. Often that impression makes the listener want to return to hear more. I am reminded not only of my own dear father St. Francis, but also St. John Vianney, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Therese of Liseux, Bl. Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. They were such simple souls, even though their spiritual lives were so very deep. But those who came into contact with them didn’t get overwhelmed by their depth, but by their kindness, simplicity and their joy. The preached truth wiht happiness.

When a poster or a preacher lacks the kindness, the simplicity and the joy, the greatest truth is going to fall on rocky soil. Only stones are attracted to other stones. Butterflies like flowers.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


I thank God that you are not facing a dilemma.
Again thank you for sharring your insight I think it speaks alot of Truth.


I too am thankful I came across this thread. I believe God directed me here.I am ashamed that I have been involved in some of the arguing etc. that has gone on and have vowed not to getting involved again in that sort of thing anymore. I want to praise God for everything He has done for me. And thank you Br


I’m glad that you found us, Mom. You need not be ashamed. The goal is to grow by changing. Shame does not always change us. But love does. Our love of God and neighbor can do great things for our soul and can move us to work wonders. I’ve often found that the greatest love of all is the ability to listen with a smile.

It is often hard to listen with a smile, especially when we are being attacked or when we hear error. But at the same time, those who smile send a strong message that they have a secret that no one knows. You’d be surprised such a smile will trigger the curiiosity of those who are watching us. They want to know. That’s our opportunity to preach the Gospel in all its glory, when the other person is ready to hear it.

Even our Lord was unable to preach when people were unable to hear. Remember what he said, “No man is a prophet in his own village.” What he meant by that is that you can’t be a prophet if you’re part of the crowd. If everyone is yelling and attacking and you’re one of them, how can you be the prophetic voice in the group?

The prophetic voices in the Church have always been those who are outside of the crowd. That’s why a lay woman like Catherine of Siena was so effective. She was not part of the crowd. She stood out and others looked to her for guidance. She did not engage in polemics. Many on these boards use her as an example to justify their anger and their attacks on the clergy, hierarchy and even the papacy, claiming that she told popes this and that. What they fail to mention was the reason why the clergy and the hierarchy paid any attention to her was because her reputation preceeded her. She was known to be a woman of great prayer, even deeper fidelity to the Church, and incredible humility. When she spoke to the princess of the Churchy she did not rebuke them or try to correct them. She approached them as a daughter and urged and begged them to hear her out. She was a woman of powerful words and very humble manner.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


Thank you very much Br. I just feel so less since I involved myself with :extrahappy:these kinds of goings on. If you think of it please pray for me Thank you and God Bless


Br. JR,
I read the feelings you have and I agree with some of it. People are people, doing whatever we need to to get by in life. Could we use the saints as examples of how to live our lives? [of course], but a lot of the time the feelings of debate and knowledge seeking overshadow what the true meaning of being on CAF means…to come together as the Father taught us and to concentrate on being kind to one another and offer an ear to someone in need. And friendship and hope to the lonely and frightened.
We SHOULD speak more on issues of spirituality and the works of people like Bl. Mother Theresa, and St. Maximillian Kolbe, we should try to concentrate on the purpose of praying, more than debate and comparison. [Don’t forget, that we are also human, and we err in many ways. When we finally realize it isn’t about who’s right or wrong, but who is thinking and pondering God’s will for us through helping others!]

Keep your chin up Br. JR! God knows what’s happening down here…he’s been watching it unravel for quite a looong time now! God Bless!

Your sister in Christ


I agree with you on this one! Well put.:thumbsup:


I agree with you also and am going to put those words in my heat. :bowdown2:


We need rules and tradition. They protect our unity as a people and give us an identity. They also help us root ourselves in a continuum. I belong to one of those religious communities that is in love with its Holy Rule and its 800-year old traditions, as well as the its holy founder. I can’t think of any Franciscan who is not in love with Francis of Assisi and who does not remember him or mention him on a daily basis, as if we knew him personally in the flesh. As a Franciscan, I know the value of a rule, tradition, history and the past.

However, we also understand that the past and the rules help us to move forward in time. They help us grow. They help us find new ways of fulfilling our life in the Church. Even though truth is constant, human history is not. Therefore, everything that we learned from our 800-year history and rule has to be repeated over and over again in a language that each generation understands and that moves every generation to seek the greatest good of all, the presence of God.

Christ is not in the rules themselves. The rules lead us to Christ. But as we change, the rules must also use a different language to deliver the same message. It is the language that is changing. Unfortunately, some people are afraid of new wording, because they don’t understand it. It is very human to be afraid of what we do not understand.

Now here is the crux. Understanding is more easily reached through: contemplation, study, DIALOGUE, and practice. We have to discipline ourselves. We must adopt the practice of listening. Like St. Benedict said, we must be welcoming. This means that we should not only welcome the stranger, but also welcome new ideas. This does not mean that we have to accept every new idea. But unless we welcome the presentation of new ideas, we will never discover those that are worth remembering and holding on to.

St. Bruno also taught that we must learn to live in solitude. Solitude can take two forms. We can be physically alone, as do hermits. It also means that we must be alone with an idea, a teaching, a change, a new theological statement. It is in silence that we hear the voice of God teaching the soul. If we run to the collective every time we hear something new or something that we are uncomfortable with, we will never have the solitude and the silence that the Holy Spirit needs to be heard.

Finally, Francis of Assisi said that we must live in brotherhood. To him brotherhood is not a symbolic or spiritual ideal. For Francis, brotherhood is a physical and psychological reality. We must be close to others. We must be intimately involved with others, allowing them to get to know us and getting to know them. In this relationship between brothers or sisters we share our ideas, our thoughts, our reactions and ask our questions without being judged and without judging. Thus the person learns what he needs to learn in order to live as Christ lived.

In conclusion, we need silence, solitude, a welcoming attitude and brotherhood if we are to understand tradition and its expression in newer language and use it for its real purpose, to reach total unity of love with Jesus. I am always reminded of Teresa of Avila who sought only one thing in life, “conversation with angels.”


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

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