POINTS OF VIEW
We can learn a lot about what we friars are doing and what we hope to do through our publications. They are replete with many items of good news and throw out many challenges to us all. This is evidence of good grass-roots activity, and I believe we should look further than the actual texts of these publications and ask why they appear at all.
Whatever is behind them, it can be a great benefit to us all if we put our points of view prudently and with simple and disinterested candour, and speak to the points of view of others with respect and courtesy. If we believe that we are seeking the truth in humility, let us believe the same of others, even though they may not always seem to indicate this by the way they put their case. We do not all have the same skills in writing or articulating our views, and can sometimes be unclear, or seem too forceful.
If we are challenged or even corrected by someone's comment, perhaps the following words of St Francis will help us to digest them:
"Blessed the servant who would accept correction, accusation and blame from another as patiently as he would from himself. Blessed the servant who when he is rebuked agrees quietly, respectfully submits, humbly admits his faults and willingly makes amends. Blessed is that servant who is not quick to excuse himself and who humbly accepts shame and blame for a sin, even though he did not commit any fault." Admonition XXII.
If we are praised or given due recognition for our effects:
Blessed is that servant who esteems himself no better when he is praised and exalted by people than when he is considered worthless, simple and despicable; for what a man is before God that he is and nothing more...." Admonition XIX
"And wherever the brothers may be together or meet (other) brothers, let them give witness that they are members of one family, and let each one confidently make known his needs to the other.... Rule, Chapter. VI.
Let us all, then, write and read as brothers should, in the hope of becoming better Friars Minor.