“Let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word.” - Jer. 18:18

Have you ever read the comment section that follows a controversial opinion piece? If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wasted more time than you should reading some heated online debates. Today, it’s easier than ever to share our words online, but it’s also a time when many people act as they did in Jeremiah’s time, waiting for the time to “destroy” writers with their own tongue. This can be a scary concept, discouraging us from sharing our thoughts and opinions, especially in writing. If we think of this in a larger sense, it can be very intimidating to open ourselves up to others and be vulnerable, to say in both word and deed what the Lord has put on our hearts.

Pope Benedict XVI was quoted to say, “Let us allow ourselves to be infected by St. Joseph’s silence! We need it greatly, in a world that is often too noisy.” This is wonderful advice! Certainly, there are times when it would serve us well to obtain “custody of the tongue” and remain silent. How else can we hear the Lord? However, in these very moments of silence, there may be times when we feel the Holy Spirit stirring in our hearts, encouraging us to reach out to someone. Likewise, if we think about the “New Evangelization,” we may remember the call to help those who have fallen away from the faith they once knew. It’s not always easy to vulnerably open ourselves up and risk scrutiny. However, this Lent, let us remember the One who risked everything and vulnerably opened Himself up to us. Jesus is described as “The Word” throughout the beginning of John’s gospel. Let us find the courage to share the Word, share Jesus himself, in the unique ways the Lord asks us to.

Give us, Holy Spirit, the gift of discernment and wisdom. Help us to lovingly choose the words we say and write, always striving to live in a loving, Christian manner. Help us to also know when it is better to be silent. Amen.

Patty Hussey