Silencing Cogitation

The list of ways to safeguard the soul is a lengthy one – strengthen one’s faith, habitual study of religious teachings, confession, daily prayer, attend Mass regularly, read only spiritually enriching material, view only inspirational programs or movies, charitable works, follow the ten commandments, and be especially observant of actions and words – are just a few.

We’ve heard those and many more reminders scores of times. Faithful practice of the suggestions from the above list is important to our spiritual health but of those the one that may be critically daunting to achieve is that concerning speech.

Comments fall so easily from our mouths when subjects are presented; everyone has an opinion and readily shares it. Few of us are guiltless. Articulating our views with little to no restraint does happen when often it would better serve our souls (and others) if we, at minimum, severely censored and limited comments, or preferably shackled our lips into silence altogether unless our words rendered praise to God, were constructive, or encouraged one another.

Inadvertently, three acquaintances often help me remember to hold my opinions in check and not be so expressive as to endanger the future that I so ardently pray to experience. When I hear useless information and judgmental inference invariably it is jolting and persuades me to minimize my time in the company of those who don’t feel likewise; however, sometimes that is not possible because of mutual involvement in organizations and activities wholesome and worthwhile that I believe in and are beneficial to many.

These three are not worthless individuals or gossips and while their actions typify what Catholicism teaches as charitable acts their words reveal uncharitableness toward others when meetings convene in which collectively we participate. In the not so distant past in one of those meetings it seemed reasonable to one attendee (with a kindred spirit to the thinking of all but the three) to diplomatically bring their faux pas front and center with a well-intentioned chide that was met only with resentment. Dissension resulted where acquiescence should have prevailed.

It was preferable to think the offenders naïve rather than callous each time their words stained the character of others and their souls with the sin of rash judgment, detraction, or calumny. Increasingly though, hope is waning since in the absence of these few offenders the words of idle insinuation is nonexistent at our meetings. This community of volunteers gather to assist others and the majority of altruistically inclined tolerate often intolerable behavior from a few in hopes (and prayers) that eventually what we cannot seem to expose in words, God in His time will one day impart to these otherwise decent three opinionated members.

I tend to agree with the adage: from all bad comes some good. The indiscretions of associates that are also members of organizations that I support remind the rest of us of the importance of the spoken word. Words can give life or death and we are responsible for how and when we use them; we will be judged on how we use them.

Wisdom in the choice of words and when we share them is critical to the state of our souls; it is essential because as James 1:19 reminds us, “Remember this, my dear brothers! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

Like with any offense, when we share disparaging opinions they will eventually lead us to the valley of regret whereby guilt and punishment exist.

All offenses are against God. They should lead to frequent examination of conscience and ultimately confession since we understand that contrition is absolutely necessary for the forgiveness of sin, and true sorrow includes a firm purpose to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Foremost in pointless verbal disclosures (truth or rumor) we subject ourselves to offending God, and secondarily incur the debt of temporal punishment whereby penance is imposed that the Church teaches will be satisfied here or in the hereafter.

There is never a way to know the true relationship one has with God and I do not mean to imply that the average person can always refrain from forming assessments or opinions of others in their minds from what we see and hear, but we can keep those opinions to ourselves.

If we circumvent the tendency to speak without thought of consequences now and later we can substantially limit the practice of unnecessary speech. Otherwise, how sincerely can we claim true love of God when what we say belies what we do?

It is well worth an additional prayer of petition to God to keep ever before us the possibility of having our names omitted from the book of the living due to misuse of the vocal capacity He so graciously endowed upon us.

 

 

“I will punish those who have hurt others with their injustice. Jerusalem’s humiliation will come to an end, and this age which is about to pass away will have the final seal put on it. Then I will give the following signs: the books will be opened across the sky for all to see.”        2 Esdras 6:19-20

“You can be sure that on the Judgment Day everyone will have to give account of every useless word he has ever spoken. Your words will be used to judge you – to declare you either innocent or guilty.”     Matthew 12:36-37.

“Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sits on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence and were seen no more. And I saw the dead, great and small alike, standing before the throne. Books were opened, and then another book was opened, the book of the living. The dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.”                         Revelation 20:11-12

 

{Thank you for spending some time with me. God Bless you always.}

2 thoughts on “Silencing Cogitation

  1. Indeed, how much damage we can cause by our words . I love the bit about not jeopardising the future we hope to have- so true !

  2. The effort it takes to tame the tongue can be substantial but for God’s sake alone is so worth it. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. May God Bless you always.

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