Her Doctrine and Morals

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

5 August 2018


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Dear Friends,

Jesus healed a man that was both deaf and dumb. This provides us with the opportunity to consider the gift of communication that God has given to most of us. There are definitely other means of communication that we may make use of, but the most common and useful for the majority is through the gifts of speech and hearing.

We seldom take the opportunity to truly appreciate these gifts of God much less, thank Him for them. They are generally taken for granted unless they become hindered or are lost altogether. The wisdom of riper years seldom penetrates into the hearts and minds of youth. The young often indulge in loud "entertainment" that has been shown to do damage to their hearing. Many, perhaps through mere laziness or indifference fail to clearly and distinctly enunciate their words. In this manner, true communication is hindered by the gradual loss of one or both of these senses.

The physical abuse of our faculties is despicable, but there is an evil that is much worse. When we listen to evil things such as songs, jokes, stories, etc., that lead us into sin; we do much greater damage than physically impairing our hearing. It is through the ears that evil often enters our hearts, corrupting and destroying our souls. Sadly, what usually comes next is even worse. One evil often leads to even greater evils. Once we have heard evil and taken it into our hearts, we too often repeat it to others doing the work of the devils and destroying other souls who may hear us.

It has been said that "curiosity is sister to indiscretion." We are all ears to hear the latest news and gossip. We want to delve into the lives of our neighbors and learn all that there is to know about them — looking to find some secret or hidden fault. All the while, making a Pharisaical comparison between ourselves and them. "I thank you, Lord, that I am not like them." However, the evil does not stop there. As curious as we were to find out something, so much the more are we eager to share what we have learned with others. And thus, through detraction, we tear down and destroy the good name and reputation of our neighbor, while we lead our listeners into the same temptation. We being by being tempted through hearing. Through speaking, we end by becoming instruments of the devils in destroying souls.

We are reminded that we must stay away from gossipers and roomer mongers, lest their evil enter into our ears and infect our souls. Those who will speak of others to us will also speak of us to others. They are contaminated with a terrible infectious disease. If we are truly concerned for our souls we will do all that we can to avoid contact with those who are infected with this disease. If we, ourselves, have become infected with this disease, we would do well to quarantine ourselves until we are healed, lest we infect others. Indeed, it would be better for us to be mute and unable to speak than to use the gift of speech in such demonic fashion. A wise practice is to keep silence and never speak unless we are motivated by true charity.

In the examination of our souls, we are instructed to trace our sins to their origin so that we may root them out. These origins are often called "occasions of sin." The occasion of our sins of detraction can often be traced to the occasion of hearing rumors and stories. We cannot turn off our ears as easily as we can our tongues, but we must do our best. This often demands that we make clear that we do not wish to hear such things, and if this does not stop it, then we can always walk away. Even if it necessitates that we cut off certain associations, it is better to suffer this now, than to have to pay for it for all of eternity in Hell.

Finally, let us consider our own hearts. Jesus instructs us that, It is not what enters a man that defiles him, but what comes out of him that defiles him. There is a malignancy or corruption in our own souls, that we need to work upon. If we did not have a love for these evils, they could not harm us, even if we were completely surrounded by these scandals. This love, or inclination to evil, is the root of all our maladies. We cannot run away from ourselves, but we can discipline ourselves. We can impose silence upon ourselves, we can do penance for our evil desires and gradually obtain, with the aid of God's grace, the total cure.

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