From a reader:
Every time I start or enter conversations with non-catholic people, the moment I ask : “Why do you think this?” or say: “I don’t understand, please explain.” in response to a statement, it will be handled as an open personal attack. To be fair, there are people who actually give an asnwer to the question, but that is usually totally meaningless and upset, but the second reply is commonly a real personal attack. We don’t even reach the point when the talk we are having is beginning to be actual communication. I experience this kind of behaviour in the office with my colleagues and with my parents too.
I get really upset when I encounter this kind of behaviour, not becouse I hate the people, but becouse the refusal of reasoning irritates me. I usually say a prayer to my guardian angel or the Blessed Virgin to help me not to lose my temper.
Is this normal, or am I doing something wrong?
Given that we are members of a fallen race, suffering with the wounds Original Sin inflicted on our will and intellect, on our ability to control our passions and appetites, I would say that this is fairly normal. This is the sort of thing that made martyrs into martyrs.
To be less dramatic, however, keep in mind the times in which we live.
Attention spans are now very short. People are taught less and less useful information. We are surrounded by distractions which lull us away from consideration of the Last Things. Preaching and teaching and catechesis has been sheer disaster for decades. Liturgical worship has been banalized far and wide. The Church and religion and the moral, ethical teaching that flows from them have been incessantly run down by the entertainment industry and misrepresented by the mainstream media. Religious indiffrentism is advanced as enlightened dialogue. Critical thinking is a nearly lost tool.
Is it any wonder that when you ask them to give a reason for what they think, they have a negative reaction? Many people are unused to such a challenge.
Take into consideration the old adage, quidquid recipitur, in modo recipientis recipitur. That which is received, is received in the manner or mode of the one who is receiving it. That it to say, you may have to tailor your according to the people you are dealing with.
Therefore, give heed to what we red in 1 Peter 15: 13ff.
And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good? But if also you suffer any thing for justice’ sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled. But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you. But with modesty and fear, having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better doing well (if such be the will of God) to suffer, than doing ill.
Be prepared to give your own informed, measured and kind answers for your Faith.
Moreover, pray not only to your Guardian Angel, but also the other person’s Guardian Angel. Ask them to work together to help the two of you have a good exchange and to prompt you in the right directions of thought while protecting your from the traps of the Enemy.
And be sure to show joy in your Catholic faith. With the relatively religiously unlettered today, your joy may be the first, best hook you have in your tackle box.