Monday, March 2, 2015

Detraction: A Turn-Off

Detracting others is such a turn-off.  Above all, God does not like it.

This nothing Catholic hermit has done it, surely.  Detraction is one of those vices of which a person can so easily convince him- or herself that it is not really detraction.  No, it is only being honest; it is being discerning, using wise discretion and critical thinking skills.

And sometimes it is one of those, but often we are deceiving ourselves.  Bottom line:  a lot of the time we criticize or debunk or judge or put down others, it is simply and honestly detraction.

Usually, at least for the nothing Catholic hermit, it has come out of frustration, or upset in something not properly done.  Or it comes down to not having perspicacity of vision, of tolerance, of letting others do as they do and say as they say, for often enough, it is not going to matter in the full spectrum of life.

Of course, when it is something of note, of vital importance to another, of an ultimate charity to speak or write, we do so.  But we need to be so very careful in discerning these fine lines that can trick us into falling into detraction.  When anger is added to it, or envy and pride, it becomes what today is known as "bullying" or being "abusive."  

Recently when so very ill, this Catholic hermit watched some YouTube videos and read some writings of the Eastern Church.  Some went back prior to the schism between the Latin and Eastern Church; some were after.  Of those after and of the past century up to current times, an undercurrent developed in speech and writing.

One speech by a Blessed of the Orthodox Christians, developed what was no doubt quite believable and reasonable to those of the Orthodox faith, the Eastern "lung" of the Church.  The subject was Francis of Assisi, and the Blessed wrote the various reasons and gave examples, as to why Francis of Assisi is not a saint but was rather a deceived person--deceived by the devil--and not someone to emulate.  The content had numerous points made, all backed up by what the Blessed (one highly esteemed of the Orthodox Church much as a Blessed in the Catholic Church is esteemed) purported.

And in reading it, this nothing Catholic hermit could see how easily one could think it rational and true about Francis--as the very statements and events in his life could be totally taken in another context and with other implications than holiness.  Yes, nothing Catholic hermit could totally understand, for it has itself been accused of this or that--from emotional and mental condition, to a fraud Catholic, to imposter Catholic hermit, to its spiritual experiences being from other than God.

And, truly, the jury is still out on this nothing Catholic hermit.  Only God knows for sure, the inner reaches of His created souls.  As for Francis of Assisi, other than what people have written of him, and the short rule of life he wrote under pressure by eager friars (Francis did not want to formalize his evolving spiritual way of life), there is nothing else--no video footage, no tape recorded talks, no photographs of his stigmata.  And, if there were such "proofs", people would insist they were photoshopped or doctored, or embellished.

Yet repeatedly, in what amounted to a full-scale detraction of Francis of Assisi, it was obvious that the holy Orthodox Blessed truly believed Francis' life was not valid in a spiritually good sense.  There was a sense of pity for him, that he had been so deceived by the evil one, but it only stood to reason since Protestants and Catholics are frequently termed "pseudo-Christians" by the Orthodox.  Found it stated repeatedly in comments and writings.

And, we all know of Protestants who think Catholics are not Christians or are not "saved", and we know of Catholics who think Protestants are not "saved", and of Catholics who no doubt think Orthodox are cut off and not to be heeded.

Frankly, it was quite humbly to have read what the Eastern Orthodox think of someone like nothing Catholic hermit and of Catholics and Protestants.  Had never considered that, probably because don't think of others as saved or not, except those who are doing evil deeds without repentance and who do not believe in God or in Jesus or the Holy Spirit.  And even then, must not judge because how does this nothing Catholic hermit know about the inner reaches of their souls?  And what is known of the next moments, hours, days and years of their life on earth, and of their judgment?  All could change in an instant, and someone thought to be this or that, could be entirely something else!

We really can only go by what is current, written fact, as far as discerning what we are and who we are, and if our lives are valid in His Divine Sight, Mind, Will, and Heart.

It is always good, and humbling, to realize that others can convince themselves based upon what someone has written about someone else, such as the many who have written about Francis of Assisi, and then decide upon a person based upon the ability to interpret what someone has done or purportedly said, or even written, from an entirely different viewpoint of the beholder.  Thus, the Blessed holy man of one wing of the Church, could write and declare Francis deceived and a false mystic and not a saintly man.  (The followers of Francis of Assisi thought otherwise, and the Western wing of the Church declared him a saint--obviously a differing view.)

So is it detraction to debunk Francis of Assisi?  Possibly and probably.  Detraction has a lot to do with the intent of the person writing or speaking, trying to put down the other.  It can be detraction even if he or she truly believes what he or she is writing is correct, or thinks is saving others from being duped, or thinks it is to warn them not to follow or emulate such a misguided or deceived or wrong person.  Is it detraction for any of us to build a case against another?

Well, a lot depends upon motive, and that is so very hard to discern in ourselves, especially if was are proud of our intellects and proud of our positions and presence and status in the world, even if but a small world in actuality.  The internet has done us a disservice, encouraging us to think we are quite the voices of authority just because what we write or say can be viewed by a few or many.  It is public.  And that make detraction all the worse, in some respects.  It is just out there, visible, readable.

Some say that public figures are fair game when it comes to pointing out wrongs (or conceivably rights) they have done.  Detraction deals with the wrongs, as its modus is negation, is putting down, debasing another's actions or words, or personhood.  And sometimes the truth is the truth, but yet again, as Jesus said, "He who is without sin may cast the first stone"

Even if St. Francis of Assisi was a total fraud, a false mystic, had no stigmata, his followers having cast fabrications about him--it then would seem rather ineffective to state all these deceptions unless one had valid proof, had known him, talked with him, observed in person, and was qualified to make a diagnosis.  Only people in Francis' time could truly do that, for anyone can twist what others have written about a person.  Even Padre Pio had doctors examine him and come away with quite different diagnoses of his stigmata than what other doctors verified.

We have the current internet flurry of people who see a blue and black dress and silver and gold.... But of course, that is not detraction to call it silver and gold when it is actually blue and black.  All that has to do with physiology in the way people's eyes functions with seeing certain colors.  However, detraction does have to do with viewpoints, with the way we view others, when viewing wrongly--putting another down, casting aspersions--even if we think we are right.

So, dear friends in Christ Jesus, filled with His Real Presence and loving God Almighty--let us not detract others.  There really is no need to do it.  Yes, we get angry and frustrated.  We are convinced our ways are the right way, our views the right and only views, the way we see things is the correct way to see.  And in some cases, particularly if we can weigh it with the right of the Gospel Rule, we might be right, or at least striving to be right.  

Yet how wrong it is to detract, to put someone else "down", to bully and make statements either in thoughts, words spoken or written, or in deed, that suggest someone else is less than what we think we are.  It is truly pointless in most any way we can rationally think of it.  Detraction does not help others nor ourselves.

And this nothing Catholic hermit knows it, as it becomes frustrated with such as a young man who came to do some plumbing--a young man the electrician was convinced could help when the hermit was so very ill.  No, the "plumber" ruined parts, did things incorrectly, and lied about codes.  It is all fact; the electrician felt terrible; the hermit has had to replace parts and re-do the plumbing, now feeling better enough to do it.  Lost $210 plus the costs of new parts and its own time and effort.

But why put the young man down?  Why detract?  Why hold anger?  It is pointless.  At most, the electrician is going to point out to him what he had done and the trouble and expense, and only so that the young man will hopefully not try to pull the wool on others--and will do a better job for others.  But detraction is not holy, is not good, is not right.  Never ought detraction be part of our action.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Little children, let us love one another!  God Is Love!  Remain in His Love, and remember we are all His children.  The jury is still out on all of us as to how good of children we each may be.  We have the potential to all be very, very good children by His grace and mercy!

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