The Art of Speaking: Weekly Message for 04-02-2019

Dear Friends in Christ,

Some early fans of the internet predicted that the ability of people to communicate with just about anyone, anywhere, would lead to a closer-knit world.

Some of that prediction has come true. RC Spirituality, for instance, routinely receives e-mails from around the world. It’s a joy to be able to assist the faithful, from India and Australia to England and Alberta.

But the Web has its woeful side, too. Lacking gatekeepers, some folks let loose with vile verbiage about politicians, bosses and even fellow Catholics. Those written words in turn feed and are fed by the toxic talk that fills the airwaves.

Well did the Letter of James understand the destructive potential of spoken words. “The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna” (3:6).

To help quench that fire (and pursue a Lenten goal if you haven’t done so yet), you might consider a resolution to abstain from complaints and criticisms of all kinds.

And if you see things that are objectively wrong or distasteful (and we all do), let charity soften your every reaction.

Sometimes a simple show of charity through our words is half the solution. “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

For a bit of inspiration to say the right thing at the right time, you might find it helpful to turn to the Regnum Christi Essay Sharpening Your Tongue.

It could contain a key ingredient for your holiness. James 3:2 points in that direction: “If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man.”

Words well-chosen help prepare hearts for the Easter Triduum.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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