It boggles the mind, sometimes, when thinking about St.
Francis of Assisi, that the speed of events or happenings is so much faster now, than it was when our Seraphic Father walked the roads of the Perugian hills. In the 800+ years that have passed, we
came a long way.
This thought came to me, as I was downloading the daily
reports from the General Chapter of the Secular Franciscan Order, right from Assisi. As webmaster of Ciofs (a few years ago), it is necessary to download the files that are inserted into the site
from there, so that my computer record of the site stays current. After this week's meeting is over, I will be getting the bulk of the files of text and photos to upload the remaining material from
the meeting to the website. I have been modernizing it. I've tried to make it look appealing particularly to the younger people. Given the positive feedback, it seems this modernization was a great
At the time of St. Francis, messages were sent back and forth
by courier. And these couriers often had to circumvent various skirmishes and perhaps robbers, so this couldn't have been a very safe occupation, and messages took many weeks to get from one point to
another. There was no telephone, telegraph in those days. There were no automobiles, very few carts of any sort. Except for the rulers in any given region, the people were poor, and they would
probably not even have a reason to send messages anywhere out-of-town.
Nowadays, messages go back and forth almost instantaneously.
Hard to believe, isn't it? But there is a danger with all this speed, and that is, that people do not think things out before they send a message. An oral message can be nullified by saying "I am
sorry" to the receiver, but a written message -- which can easily be taken out of context, when only a portion is forwarded or quoted -- that is of a more permanent nature.
Once in a while, if I cannot sleep at night, I turn on one of
those all night radio stations. The thought here is that if it's boring I will fall asleep anyway. And sometimes that's good, because the messages that come over the air these days are often
completely out of line. It seems as though broadcasters cannot talk about normal subjects anymore, but everything is about sex, and the language is pretty bad. I've served in the military, so I've
heard it all, but I just don't want to wake up to some banter about people who live together (usually out of wedlock) and what they are doing together. It makes me sick. And what about our young
people, can you imagine the strain that stuff puts on a teenager, the peer-pressure he or she is under, on a daily basis, to do things that really need not occur until much later in their lives, if
This world, and I am thinking about all these sad people whose
thoughts and actions are bombarded with the daily barrage of moral decay... that's the type of satanic temptation that does extreme harm and is an affront to a loving God. The amount of garbage that
comes to those who are unwise, through the Internet, is also almost instantaneous, and we must guard our souls from falling into the decaying abyss. For if we do not guard our senses, we shall fall,
and fall far.
There is much good that comes almost instantaneously to us
over the Internet, for example in research, medical situations, intra-company communications, and also religion, as for example all the websites of religious orders, and secular lay institutes. The
website of the Vatican is a source of a great amount of wonderful data. So are websites of News and journalistic organizations. But there is also a grave danger for unwise and imprudent users of the
Internet. The Internet is in many ways a great cesspool of immoral and quite dangerous websites and files, which are works of the devil. These sites which are bad for us can lead to the corruption of
the younger generation, and parents need to be really careful how much access a young person should be allowed to have. The fact, that such bad stuff comes to us almost instantaneous is the scary
God bless you, and be at Peace!
Fred S. Schaeffer, OFS
11-08-2005 rev. 2012