The other day I shared on the first line of a prayer that Pope John Paul II said every morning ….. “ O Holy Spirit, love of the Father and Son inspire me in how to think….” The next line is Holy Spirit inspire me in “what to say, how to speak, when to be silent”.
So, the process goes how should I think and next how should I speak or not speak, and what to say. Hmmm, this is starting to “hit home”. It reminds me of several old phrases from “ just keep the big trap shut , to zip the lip buster….. ”
St. James says it better… “Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue—(James 3: 4-8)
Have you ever started to say something and realize “ I just need to shut up”…yet the words keep popping out…. getting worse and worse…. more and more gasoline being poured on the fire. Even when we later apologize and ask forgiveness for our words, we never fully recover. Someone likened it to taking a huge mattress of feathers to the top of a mountain and letting them go…. you can never fully retrieve the feathers.
I guess that’s why St. John Paul II said that prayer every morning, “ Holy Spirit inspire me in “what to say, how to speak, when to be silent”.
So, let’s pray to guard our heart and the words which flow from our heart. Let’s use our tongue for loving and praising God, loving our brothers and sisters, bringing healing.
And when we mess up, let us be quick to repent and ask forgiveness and then ask the Holy Spirit to show us how to make reparations. Maybe it’s lifting up in prayer those we’ve hurt by our words. Maybe it’s seeking to do a work of kindness or service for them… perhaps supporting them in their life in an intentional way. If that happens, perhaps we can retrieve the “feathers let go from the mountaintop”. And that is very good news.