THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
20 August 2017
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The miracle that we find presented to us in today's Gospel reminds us of the need to guard our ears and our tongues. When Jesus cured this man, the Gospel tells us that he spoke right. His ears were opened and his tongue was loosened. The physical acts of hearing and speaking are very powerful tools that God has put in our hands. It is a veritable shame how often these gifts are taken for granted. What is even worse, however, is how often these blessings from God are abused by us.
Our Catechism tells us that we were made by God and for God. His desire is that we know, love, and serve Him in this life so that we may spend eternity with Him in Heaven. If our entire existence is for God, so must every aspect of our lives and beings give honor and glory to Him. How have we used the gift of communication?
There are far too many with itching ears that desire to hear of everything except God. We run after gossip, rumers, vulgar, or vain empty speech and song. Added to this, our ears are never filled. Fueled by our passions, we are never satiated it is never enough and we run after greater and greater evils to bring into our hearts and minds.
Once we have allowed evil to enter in through our ears we cannot un-hear it. The damage has been done. We can often close our eyes and not see something, but our ears are always open. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to avoid all occasions that may expose us to these audio assaults upon our consciences and souls. We must be ever vigilant to turn away from heresy, the gossip, and the rumor monger. We must become circumspect in the choice of music and entertainment that we expose ourselves to.
While the sense of hearing is very dangerous, our tongues are exposed to even worse evils. It is not so much what enters into the man that defiles him, but what comes out of his mouth. It is possible to hear something evil and reject it. The evil that is spoken from our own mouths is much worse than this. The evil that is spoken has already taken root in our hearts and souls it has grown and matured and has now produced evil fruit in speech. This evil fruit is put out into the world for those around us to hear where it may take root in their souls, to continue in others the very damage it has done to us. When this has taken place we become the very instruments of the devils, we are doing their work in preventing souls from entering into the Kingdom of God.
Once the evil word has been spoken even when we come to realize our mistake the words cannot be taken back. They are out there and often seem to take on a life of their own spreading like wild fires. No sooner is the evil spoken, then it takes root in another heart and is soon repeated by them to infect still others. It is tragic enough that this evil exists in one soul, but the epidemic spread of this infection to others is many times worse. We know that one day we will have to give an account of every word we have spoken. What will be our suffering when a word spoken by us has brought down with us many who have heard and been infected by our words? Will we not have to give an account of these words of ours that are not only heard by others but are repeated by them to infect more and more souls perhaps until the end of time?
The evils spoken by Martin Luther, infected many souls in his day; but they have been taken up by others and repeated over and over again even to our present day. Is it not true, that he will have to give an account of all these many that were not even born until centuries after his death? Can we even imagine the evil that these heresies have done; or the number of souls lost because of the rash and violent hate filled words of a dissolute man?
So much for the wrong use of our tongues. We also have examples in the saints of the good that can come from the proper use of the senses that God has given us. How many have heard the words of St. Francis of Assisi even long after his death? The Church lists many saints that are now in heaven because they were inspired by him and imitated him. We may argue that the words of St. Francis were not original with Him, but that he preached the Words of God. In hearing St. Francis, we hear the Words that God has spoken to us. In any case, St. Francis became the instrument of God and it is to his honor that he was the instrument that brought many souls to God in Heaven. Even though the originator of all good is God, we become mediators or His instruments when we repeat His Words or actions for others.
It should be our hope and desire that our words redound to the honor and glory of God and bring forth fruit in Heaven rather than insult God and drag souls down into the infernal pit of Hell. Only in hearing and speaking in conformity to His Will, can we be said to speak rightly.
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