Friday, 30 August 2013

Powerful beyond measure

I don’t think you realise just how powerful you are. Did you know that - that you are powerful? That your life does make a difference? That your actions, your thoughts, your words, your existence counts?

Maybe you’ll be the next Albert Einstein, the next William Wilberforce, the next Mother Teresa. Or maybe not. Perhaps your effect will be by your prayers for your children, like St. Monica for St. Augustine or your support of the mission of those around you, like Fr. Julian Tenison-Woods to St. Mary of the Cross Mackillop? Only God can see the bigger plan for your life – the mark that you will make.

Now, Mother Teresa would not today be Mother Teresa without each individual act of love. You are the sum of your choices, whether intentional or unintentional. Have you ever stopped to consider how even the tiniest of your actions – or lack thereof – has a ripple affect? Your sneeze at work costs a colleague a trip to the doctor. Your unintentionally strong handshake intimidates a visitor to your church. Your lack of having your Go-Card at the ready causes your bus to run late. Have you ever considered just how far the ripples run?

More to the point, have you ever considered the adverse effect your words have on the world? My parents always said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Whilst I don’t believe it’s a blanket rule, there remains great merit in such a statement.
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)
Your words are powerful. They can build up. They can tear down. Gossip is not just the pastime of teenage girls.

Your casual conversation about what she wore, what he said, what they did, whether true or false, has an effect. Like a game of Chinese Whispers, your words take on a life of their own. 
"When we prefer to gossip, gossip about others, criticise others -- these are everyday things that happen to everyone, including me -- these are the temptations of the evil one who does not want the Spirit to come to us and bring about peace and meekness in the Christian community." (Pope Francis, April 2013)
Let us not be a people of tall poppy syndrome. Let us not tear others down to make us feel better about ourselves or have a rant about someone behind their back because we are too afraid to say it to their face.
“Do not judge anyone" because "the only Judge is the Lord." Then "keep quiet" and if you have something to say, say it to the people involved, to those "who can remedy the situation," but "not to the entire neighborhood." (Pope Francis, April 2013)
Ask yourself: Is this true? Is this helpful? Is this life giving? For “The prudent man looks where he is going” (CCC 1806).

Further scriptures on the power of your words:
  • "Let the words of my mouth be acceptable, the thoughts of my heart before you." (Psalm 19:15)
  • "Those who guard their mouths preserve themselves; those who open wide their lips bring ruin."(Proverbs 13:3)
  • "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]." (Proverbs 18:21)
  • "By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:37)
God bless,