I remember my grandfather teaching me that words have power. Our words, unspoken, are only our own when in the realm of our thoughts, but once we say them out loud, they acquire a life of their own. Once said, our words are out in the world and come and go like the wind, unbound, yet we are still responsible for them... That has always stayed with me, and it has become something that both my wife and I have embraced and taken to heart. We guard our words and make sure that they are words of charity and love once we let them out into the world.
If we only take this wisdom at face value, then the lesson is that "we must think before we speak," which is an excellent lesson to learn, but that is only a superficial lesson. To truly understand the value of this wisdom, we must dig deeper.
Our Lord Jesus teaches his disciples:
Our words indeed have power. They can change reality for someone, affect minds and hearts, even our own. They can help someone find the right way home or misguide them into perdition. Our words can bless or curse. They can lift up or put down. That is power, and we always have a choice on how to use this power.
Today, so many are angry at God, the world, people, and even their brethren. There are not many words of blessing said, but there are many curses. A curse is a thought against another, a word spoken to harm, and it is prevalent in this age. Yet, our Lord was clear on what to do, not to curse but to bless, even the ones that do not wish us well:
Some situations are going to be difficult. There are so many of us living in angst. But to lash out indiscriminately is not the solution. Unjust words are not the solution.
"Raqa" can be translated as "idiot"; the word is meant to demean and insult. Even back then, our Lord Christ was clear that calling out names, belittling, and putting down our opponents is not the correct way. If we let anger rule our lives, then we are moving away from our Heavenly calling, which is to " …love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." (John 13:34)
Feelings are feelings. We will feel what we will feel, yet that is not a reason for acting unjustly, uncharitably, un-lovingly... It is not enough to just control our tongue, though that is a good beginning. We must also transform our hearts. We must not allow feelings to provoke us into acting incorrectly. We must work towards having our hearts be still, free from encumbrances.
We must guide our hearts and minds to develop in a different direction, not to curse but to bless. Through the grace that we receive from our communion with Christ, we must develop hearts of blessing.
Our Lord suffers every possible indignation from our unbelief in the Eucharist. In the total humility of the Bread of Life, He suffers every indignant word, every doubt, every repudiation from those who do not believe, yet His heart is full of love, His WORD truly a gift of blessing to us. His is the example that we must follow. A disciple of Christ must have a heart of blessing. Our lips must speak blessing.
I pray that the people who interact with us can see true hearts of humility, mercy, and charity and that from our witness, they may grow to have words of blessing in both their hearts and lips. May we mature in our faith and understanding, that God's love for us may transform our hearts and minds, that our words and actions then be a living blessing to others.
May our hearts become hearts of blessing. May words of blessing be always on our lips.
Let us pray:
Lord, you know our hearts and minds. Help us that through Your perfect love, we may be able to develop hearts of blessing. Help us that we may live a life of blessing and that our lips may always sing your praises and bring about Your good to the world. Amen.