“Gossip is a very human thing, they say. And I reply: we have to live in a divine manner. The evil or flippant word of only one man can create a climate of opinion, and even make it fashionable to speak badly about somebody. Then that thin mist of slander rises from below, reaches a high level, and perhaps condenses into black clouds…” (St. Josemaria Escrivá)
Just a few small words – what harm could they possibly do? And yet, haven’t we sometimes found ourselves regretting the words that come out of our mouth, sometimes the moment they do? Criticizing someone when they aren’t present to defend themselves, making a joke in poor taste, bragging about some achievement: Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!
Fr. Escriva understands the harm words can do – how they can spread like a black cloud throughout the earth. Unfortunately, our supernatural faith works in two directions, and evil can be multiplied like goodness. John Paul II wrote: “Every sin drags down with itself the Church and, in some way, the whole world. In other words there is no sin, not even the most intimate and secret one, the most strictly individual one, that exclusively concerns the person committing it. With greater or lesser violence, with greater or lesser harm, every sin has repercussions on the entire ecclesial body and the whole human family.”
Surely we want our words to bring blessings to the world; but controlling one’s tongue is not easy – sometimes it might seem easier to just staple our lips shut! But again, if we pray to keep in the presence of God throughout our day, that awareness can help us to think before we speak. Instead of a cloud of darkness, let’s spread the light of Christ.
St. Josemaria Escriva, pray for us!