Pursuit of Holiness on the Internet
#11
(01-18-2013, 11:05 AM)JayneK Wrote:
(01-18-2013, 10:02 AM)ggreg Wrote: Well one of the obvious problems is that the only way we interact here with people is the written word. Plus the occasional video from Erin or Walty. How would you distinguish between the people who were pursuing holiness and the people who thought they were and those who thought they'd pretty much already attained it barring the odd slip up.

How would you distinguish between the brutally honest people who say everything truthfully and those with weasel words and phrases who rarely express an honest thought?

In the real world we can see people's actions and demeanour as well.  We can judge them by their longevity and perseverance as well as their zeal right now.

I'm not sure why you think judging other people's level of holiness has anything to do with pursuing holiness or encouraging each other to holiness.

Because I take advice from those I respect, due to their experience and achievement, to give it to me.

I would not listen to the marriage guidance advice of a thrice divorced man.

How would one know whether the encouragement and advice of a poster was real and based on holiness and experience or just something he had read in a book.  Hard to validate on the Internet.

Plus I know a few very holy people in real life and none of them are people who post on any forums.  I have a sneaking suspicion that when a person is more than halfway to holiness, that they are too busy being holy, praying and doing good works to make thousands of posts on Internet fora.

That's not to say that there are not holy posters, but I will bet you they don't have a high post count.
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#12
(01-18-2013, 11:21 AM)wallflower Wrote: I came across another little place, Saints' Books, that is largely focused on the spiritual life but it has just a small core group too. Those places are quiet and just don't have the drama that keeps people addicted. As good as an owner's intentions may be, the stats prove it over and over again that forums thrive on drama.

Honestly I've come to realize that those who are seeking to increase in holiness are out there doing, not saying. That's not to say no one online is growing in holiness or that their words are all false but those of us online are largely in beginner and in between stages of holiness. Once people are further advanced they tend to put away such things. Not that such things are bad, they just outgrow them. So those of us left tend to be the blind leading the blind and for all the best intentions that always results in an overall atmosphere of confusion.

This makes a lot of sense to me. I know that I am just a beginner in holiness and that probably is the state of most of the more active posters here.  There are some exceptions.  We do have prayer-warriors like Tim around. 

Speaking of Tim, he wrote on another thread:
Quote:I start a thread on praying the Office for fisheaters and I get a handful. Yet, all of the trads are swooning for the latest Breviarium. Disconnect you bet. I start a thread on praying the rosary for the fisheaters as I believe it's getting worse and I get similar results. My take is trads atleast that post are not interested in the nuts and bolts of Salvation, they want to be expert in lofty thoughts. Vanity !
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#13
(01-18-2013, 11:37 AM)ggreg Wrote:
(01-18-2013, 11:05 AM)JayneK Wrote: I'm not sure why you think judging other people's level of holiness has anything to do with pursuing holiness or encouraging each other to holiness.

Because I take advice from those I respect, due to their experience and achievement, to give it to me.

I would not listen to the marriage guidance advice of a thrice divorced man.

How would one know whether the encouragement and advice of a poster was real and based on holiness and experience or just something he had read in a book.  Hard to validate on the Internet.

Plus I know a few very holy people in real life and none of them are people who post on any forums.  I have a sneaking suspicion that when a person is more than halfway to holiness, that they are too busy being holy, praying and doing good works to make thousands of posts on Internet fora.

That's not to say that there are not holy posters, but I will bet you they don't have a high post count.

I cannot claim to be a holy person, but I have read many books by holy people.  I often know the right thing to do, even when I do not do it myself.  I think I am sometimes capable of giving good advice and its goodness does not depend on whether it comes from my personal experience.

But there must be more to helping each other to grow in holiness than giving advice.
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#14
(01-18-2013, 11:43 AM)JayneK Wrote: This makes a lot of sense to me. I know that I am just a beginner in holiness and that probably is the state of most of the more active posters here.  There are some exceptions.  We do have prayer-warriors like Tim around. 

Speaking of Tim, he wrote on another thread:
Quote:I start a thread on praying the Office for fisheaters and I get a handful. Yet, all of the trads are swooning for the latest Breviarium. Disconnect you bet. I start a thread on praying the rosary for the fisheaters as I believe it's getting worse and I get similar results. My take is trads atleast that post are not interested in the nuts and bolts of Salvation, they want to be expert in lofty thoughts. Vanity !

I think Tim makes a very good observation (as usual). We are all subject to such vanity, and we all have to constantly struggle to keep it in check. I frequently catch myself turning the Office into an intellectual exercise in the Latin language, rather than prayer. How many of us can conform to the description of St Francis of Assisi's devotion to prayer?:
Life of St Francis by St Bonaventure Wrote:It was his wont to say the Psalms with mind and spirit as attent as though he saw God present before his eyes, and when the Name of the Lord occurred therein, he seemed to refresh his very lips with the savour of its sweetness. He was fain that that same Name of the Lord, not alone when it was meditated upon, but also when it was uttered or written, should be honoured with an especial reverence, and at times he would prevail on the Brethren to collect all papers with writing upon them, wheresoever they might find them, and to lay them in some seemly place, lest perchance that sacred Name might happen to be written thereon, and so trodden underfoot. And when he uttered or heard the Name of Jesus, he was filled with an inward rejoicing, and seemed all transfigured outwardly, as though some honey-sweet taste had soothed his palate, or some melodious sound his ear.

That is holiness. I don't really know how you can encourage that on an internet forum, but it's worth trying to find a way to. Better to at least discuss holiness than to constantly bicker about the problems we all know exist in the Church which we can do nothing about.
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#15
Maybe we'd benefit from a "Spiritual Life & Devotions" subsection? Sometimes I have questions about prayer, but it's not specifically about the Office, and it seems out of place among the more general topics in the "Apologetics and Questions about Traditional Catholicism" section.

It would be helpful to have a place dedicated to sharing information and experiences on topics like mental prayer and meditations, growing in virtue, adoration, penance, scapulars, etc. in a place not immediately next to a thread where we're all getting riled up about theology and church politics.  :LOL:

Also, I don't really want a scenario where we're all encouraged to be a bunch of interfering busybodies in each others' lives; that was one of the last straws of my protestant experience. Certainly we could ask for advice, and offer when asked, but any reasonable answer should probably be followed up by "...but really you should ask your priest or spiritual director." :)

But I totally understand why it would be ideal to have support here on this forum instead of fleeing to a different one, because as was mentioned, we all ought to be pursuing holiness, and secondly because we already know each other to some degree here, and that comfort level is very important (at least to me) when discussing things like this. And there are already threads on some of these topics that pop up, they just tend to be scattered and eclipsed sometimes.
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#16
I think part of the issue is that spirituality is, in many ways, intensely personal.  For example, most people who are struggling with a particular vice, especially if it is one considered to be particularly shameful, are not going to be very eager to discuss it openly.  That would be painful, more than likely for all involved.

The flip side of the coin is also true.  A holy person, or one striving for holiness, is not terribly likely to be going about saying all that he does with respect to the spiritual life:  "oh, I give alms, I say two rosaries a day, thirty minutes of meditation in the morning, visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, examination of conscience twice or thrice a day, pray the office, etc., etc."-- that's much longer than my list, by the way.  Most of us are probably suspicious of such discussion as failure in humility.  To some extent, I think this may be a mistake, but it's there in any case.

Maybe the simplest way to put it, though a little harsh, is that we don't throw what's holy to the dogs.  Not that most Fishies are dogs, but you never know who will be reading and what they will say in response to some of the things that are most important to you.  We tend to save those for people we know and trust, especially (thank God) in real life.

I'm not saying greater concern with holiness isn't a laudable goal for a forum-- it is, of course.  But I think it's an uphill fight:  a forum is not naturally inclined to this sort of discussion.  It's just not private enough, there's not enough trust, etc.

That said, I do see all kinds of discussions that are edifying on FE.  They may not be the most common, but they're there if  you look for them.
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#17
The way to do that is to give people good things to do, that yield fruit.

For example

You have mentioned that you have read a lot of spiritual books, that is great, if you wrote reviews for some of the more obscure ones and provided some insight on how they were helpful, you could post it, get feedback on the quality of the review and its content, then submit the final draft to a site like amazon.com

or

Their is some good work that you feel an inclination too, you could ask others how they went about doing it and for practical advice.  Once you have a set plan you can ask for help in your area.

or

Discuss and identify a specific problem, suggest pratical things you can do to remedy it or support each other to remedy the problem, follow up with the wisdom through the trial of your efforts.  

In order to write well to encourage holiness we have to avoid thinking that we are Holy but yet we have to do Holy Things, and we cannot encourage other people to do what we ourselves have not tried or would not do because then our words will sound hollow and hypocritical.

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#18
I blame the writers ! I mean we have those that write on perfecting ways of praying the rosary. What gets lost is it is better to say a sloppy mind wandering rosary than to not. It appears in Tradom the perfect is the enemy of the good. Being a less than liberally educated guy, I have different troubles. My Latin is like first year HS'er. So meditation during the Office ain't happening, and that's what the Office should be prayer not navel gazing. I have a time keeping to understanding what I'm reciting. This is a blessing par excellance directly from God Almighty. The thing is God is listening and if you ask He sends the Holy Ghost, and that doesn't mean we become like the notion of holiness we have in our mind, but what He sees best for us. It's in the doing.

The other writers which spin too much are hagiographers. Do you believe all the saints went around in some state of semi-ecstasy with eyes pointed up ward, mumbling stuff , toes never touching earth? No, they had to work ! When St. Francis finally got to the HOLY Land he explained to the Crusaders laying siege what they were doing wrong, and if they used his approach they'd kill more Mohammedans. That's before he challenged the Imans to walk through a fire. None would take the challenge and the Sultan was very impressed but didn't convert. Not exactly as he is protrayed ? Hmm ?

The last thing is we especially here on the net can not tell who is holy. I'm sure there are folks here that according to their state in life are doing way good. To sum it's in the doing, and the Holy Ghost will work to make you holy right where you are. Last is do not let the perfect prevent you from starting the good.

So much for tim's evangelization,

tim

Oh, and Mother Angelica said she thought these writers got long sentences in Purgatory for making it too hard.
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#19
(01-18-2013, 01:18 PM)Tim Wrote: When St. Francis finally got to the HOLY Land he explained to the Crusaders laying siege what they were doing wrong, and if they used his approach they'd kill more Mohammedans. That's before he challenged the Imans to walk through a fire. None would take the challenge and the Sultan was very impressed but didn't convert. Not exactly as he is protrayed ? Hmm ?

"It is just that Christians invade the land you inhabit, for you blaspheme the name of Christ and alienate everyone you can from His worship."  St Francis of Assisi to the Sultan

Source
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive...r/08040302
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#20
(01-18-2013, 01:18 PM)Tim Wrote: I blame the writers ! I mean we have those that write on perfecting ways of praying the rosary. What gets lost is it is better to say a sloppy mind wandering rosary than to not. It appears in Tradom the perfect is the enemy of the good. Being a less than liberally educated guy, I have different troubles. My Latin is like first year HS'er. So meditation during the Office ain't happening, and that's what the Office should be prayer not navel gazing. I have a time keeping to understanding what I'm reciting. This is a blessing par excellance directly from God Almighty. The thing is God is listening and if you ask He sends the Holy Ghost, and that doesn't mean we become like the notion of holiness we have in our mind, but what He sees best for us. It's in the doing.

The other writers which spin too much are hagiographers. Do you believe all the saints went around in some state of semi-ecstasy with eyes pointed up ward, mumbling stuff , toes never touching earth? No, they had to work ! When St. Francis finally got to the HOLY Land he explained to the Crusaders laying siege what they were doing wrong, and if they used his approach they'd kill more Mohammedans. That's before he challenged the Imans to walk through a fire. None would take the challenge and the Sultan was very impressed but didn't convert. Not exactly as he is protrayed ? Hmm ?

The last thing is we especially here on the net can not tell who is holy. I'm sure there are folks here that according to their state in life are doing way good. To sum it's in the doing, and the Holy Ghost will work to make you holy right where you are. Last is do not let the perfect prevent you from starting the good.

So much for tim's evangelization,

tim

Oh, and Mother Angelica said she thought these writers got long sentences in Purgatory for making it too hard.

Tim, I think you misinterpreted my reference to the Seraphic Father.

First, the quote that I used is from St Bonaventure, Doctor of the Universal Church, when the Franciscan General Chapter ordered him to write an authoritative biography on St Francis. Not some modern "author" who is telling us our prayer has to be perfect, and if it's not we should just give up or anything like that. I highly doubt Mother Angelica was referring to St Bonaventure's seminal work when she made that comment.

Second, I was trying to use it to make the same point you are: that holiness can only come as a gift from God, through perseverance in prayer and devotion. What I was saying is that I don't know how that could possibly be "taught" or "shared" on an internet forum, but I agree we should strive to make our online conversation lead us towards a life of prayer as much as possible.
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