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


Hi Mary,

I’m glad that you’re enjoying the thread. Our holy Father Francis was a unique character. He certain is not the same character that we find in people’s gardens with a bunch of birds on his shoulders depositing their stuff all over the poor man. He was a man of character and courage. What I found so attractive about him and why I joined the Franciscan family was his strength of character and his charity toward all, even the most sinful and despicable people.

Francis is the epitome of mercy. While his writings and actions never deny God’s justice and man’s justice toward God, he always reminds us that when justice is satisfied, mercy far exceeds the satisfaction. In other words, God loves to love us. What Francis makes most clear to us is that we avoid sin, not only for fear of the punishment and consequences, which should be enough, but most of all because Love deserves to be loved in return.

I believe that this idea should be carried with us everywhere we go and should glow in everything we do. This is one of the concerns that I often have about some posts on these threads. There is such a strong focus on the rules and the traditions that we often forget to love as we share them. We tend to forget that truth must always be taught in charity and with patience. At times we cannot win the argument, but we can win the battle by simply being an example of humility. True humility involves knowing when it’s time to be quiet and back off. True humility recognizes when the argument is not being effective. True humility acknowledges that only God has the power to change hearts. All we can do is plant the seed and allow the Holy Spirit to water it with grace.

This is where Francis calls us to penance. Real penance involves two things. First, it must be a personal conversion. We must change the way we do things and the way that we deal with others. Our dealings with others do not have to deny our faith; but it does have to recognize the dignity of the other person, regardless of his or her beliefs.

Second, conversion involves sacrifice. You cannot convert hearts unless you love them enough to make sacrifices for them. Preaching at them, lecturing them, intimidating them is not always a charitable tool. In fact, I would say that only preaching is charitable from this list. The rest is reprehensible. Christ himself only rebuked when justice was violated, in defense of those who had no defense. So too the Franciscan must exert himself or herself in protecting those who have no defense, but spend his or her life doing penance for those who will not receive the Gospel, not badgering them. Christ does not badger. Rather he goes to the cross. Thus Franciscan spirituality and tradition is very grounded on the cross. The cross is a means of loving. Our daily crosses and those penances that we voluntarily do for those who need God’s grace, including us, are our way of conforming ourselves in mind, body and soul to the figure of Christ.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


To act towards others in charitable and loving ways is a way to bring them to understanding God?


Francis would say that to act toward others in a loving and charitable way is planting the seed for grace. It is also the way that Christ shows his face to others, through our faith in the power of charity. We have to pray for faith in the power of charity. We must have hope that God will not deny us this prayer, becuase what we’re asking for is one of his son’s own virtues. Why would he deny us the grace to be like Jesus?


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


I am hoping and praying to be given only SOME of Jesus virtues in my efforts to try to draw my brother who used to be an ardant supporter of the church, and his wife an Agnostic, to come to church and experience God’s presence in the church and in the eucharist. That no man can condemn someone to hell, and that god IS all loving and all forgiving. But, I suppose I should pray for their minds to be converted as well as their hearts and souls, and for them to reach a point of desiring to attend the mass to begin with. Yes?


Don’t pray for some of Jesus’ virtues, pray for all of them. God will grant that prayer. Remember that scripture says that we should be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Therefore, we should always pray for the perfection of all virtues. St. Francis clearly understood this command in the Gospel and he prayed this way. Gradually he was transformed into a new creation.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


So if I were to pray for every virtue of Christ’s I could reach union with him in aspiring to be perfect in God’s eyes? Would I pray for the virtues of faith, love, charity, peace towards others, goodwill to others, hekp those who need help, pray for those in need, and love my enemies?
Please explain


I would simplify the prayer, as St. Francis and many great saints have done and simply pray that I may become more like Christ each day or that I may be transformed into Christ.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


OH ok…wow, that sounds like a really powerful prayer. I hope and pray that I can be more like Christ also. I take up my cross of suffering medical diseases i.e. diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid problems, heart problems, nerve damage, [that leaves me in pain], depression, anxiety, sleep apnea[that leaves me exhausted], glaucoma, and digestive problems…just to name a few.
When I was born I was literally on my death bed from having too much insulin in my body. 10 times too much. The staff at the hospital put 7 i.v.s of glucose into the veins in my scalp. A ‘‘crown of thorns’’ if you will. I understand Jesus’ headache on a personal note.
I had th i.v.s in for the 1st 8 months of my life. Until I had most of my pancreas removed I was either in the hospital, or being fed thru an eye dropper like a feeding tube drips sugar into a persons stomach, BY MY MOTHER. She stayed awake endless hours and she and my father ran to the hospital whenever I had a low blood sugar seizure.
I certainly HOPE that there is a special place in Heaven for my mother, who passed away in May of 2008] I told her once ‘‘I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t kept me safe and alive’’ She told me that it was I who chose to fight for my life and not give up…I know even as a toddler I prayed very hard for my improved health. So I could be a part of my family’s life God chose for me to survive, but why?] I pray that God hears me and that he also grants me a prayer that I can become more and more like him, in each and every way, each and every day. I am still perplexed as to why I am still here. In 1973 there were 12 others like myself that were not able to survive the same way that I did, and All I can do is credit God, 1st, and my family 2nd, for doing a really nice job!! I’m grateful to be alive, I love every minute, and hope to be reunited with Jesus someday.
I pray that God gives you the perfection you seek in becoming perfect for God in the life here ,and the life hereafter, Br. JR
God Bless you and keep you,


If you could pop in to some of the forum posts like ''dressing for the sacraments ’ and post a comment for the posters to read about not judging people who cant afford to dress in the '‘sunday best’ as described by some of the people in that conversation. It’s coming off as though the poor who can’t afford more than blue jeans and a clean and new t-shirt are less worthy of God’s respect , because by dressing as they do it is '‘disrespectful to God’‘
I told the posters that it is more disrepectful to God to assume that the person who is poor wants to look like someone who doesn’t care about God’s inviting them to his house and worshipping him in something more ‘‘acceptable’’ looking. They are talking about appearance and God loved even the lowliest of people, the poorest persons and those who could not afford more than that days provisions. Let alone suits or blouses and skirts.
I guess because I AM that poor person who cannot afford the heels, dress, or blouse and skirt I am hurt because being with God in his house to me is more about the spiritual and less about the physical or clothing one wears.’


The poor always hold a place of honor in God’s house. Let us not forget what the scriptures tell us about Mary’s presentation in the temple. The only offering that she and Joseph could afford were two turtle doves. Would we deny the mother of God and her divine Son entry into the temple, because they were poor?

Would we deny Francis of Assisi entrance because he could not afford shoes?

Would we deny Elizabeth Ann Seton, a widow, mother of five children and destitute entrance into the temple?

Has anyone ever taken a close look at our Franciscan habits? They are often patched, stained, and even tattered, because we only have two habits and we wear them for years. We do not get rid of them. We patch them, even if the fabric does not quite match.

God deserves the best that we can bring, not what man defines as the best. It is a sin of presumption to pretend to know what others can bring before the Lord and what they cannot. Such a sin violates not only justice, but also charity. God’s mercy is extended to those who worship him in spirit and in truth, not in shirt and ties.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


Thank you so much for explaining to me what my Mother had always said…You bring yourself to God the best way you can… I patch up my clothes also. I have worn down shoes and I am too poor to afford new ones right now. I wish you would explain this to those who are knocking the poor in the post about dressing for the Sacraments. I told them not to judge. That they do not know what the abilty is to afford clothes and ‘‘proper attire’’ for church for others.] I feel like a gossip…I hate feeling that way…say some prayers for me that I have a better year this year than last.


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