"Correct but do not reject": A lesson from St. Bonaventure

As the post below reminds us, St. Bonaventure knew very what it is like to “be in the middle” of conflict while desiring unity.

He experienced this feeling of “being in the middle” in working with his brother Franciscans, some of whom ardently wished to live impoverished lives of preaching and service to the poor, while others felt that the Franciscan order–still young at the time–would never survive if rule prohibited the order from having possessions.

He experienced this feeling of “being in the middle” in working on the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyon, trying to restore communion between the Latin and the Greek Churches.

He expierenced this feeling of “being in the middle” as the general of his order.

Fr. Z had a great little quote on his blog about Bonaventure: “He sought to correct rather than reject.”

I’ve seen many Catholics reject another Catholic for many reasons. Especially when it comes to priests.

How quick folks are to label others as “liberal” or “conservative” and then go on to dismiss everything that person says or does.

Bonaventure knew well that such judgment is not wise!

I’ve come to see that there is something to learn from those who are often labeled as “liberal” and those who are often labeled as “conservative.”

Don’t get me wrong: there are times when a person is truly wrong on an issue. In those cases, it is best to gently correct him or her rather than rejecting everything that person says or does.

I pray for more Bonaventures who find themselves in the middle of Church divisions and bring reconciliation there, by correcting rather than rejecting. There’s a reason Bonaventure is painted holding ONE Church!