What we say should reveal a great deal about who we are. As stated in Sirach (27:6),
“The fruit of the tree shows the care it has had, so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.”
I am sure we have all said things we wish we would not have. I know I certainly have. I often think about the mistakes I have made during my lifetime and ask God for the grace to be more prudent. At times, I imagine we all have made a spontaneous response to a question or situation before we have given thought to the consequence of our words. Perhaps most of the negativity we see in our culture is the result of casual, irresponsible remarks. It seems to me that language is more crude and more disrespectful than at any time in my memory. I was guilty of some of that until I began to take my faith seriously. I still at times say things that I wish I had not said, but not in the same way I use to say them.
In the Gospel of Luke (6:45) Jesus says,
“A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”
It is very easy to respond in a negative way to a negative experience. It can just happen naturally. When we say negative or evil things it doesn’t necessarily mean we are evil unless it is habitual as a persistent negative attitude which can lead to making bad decisions. When I was in the military, away from people who knew me, I picked up the language of some of the young men around me. I don’t believe I had an evil heart, but I didn’t have a formed conscience and a developed faith that would have helped me overcome the temptation to blend in. Bad language and peer pressure were the doorways to other temptations.
We all give in to temptations at times, but left unchecked they can become a storehouse of bad decisions that can affect how we see ourselves and how other people see us. Christianity calls us to enter the struggle to overcome that which leads to sin. St. Paul describes it well. He says,
“I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.”
The first phase of the battle is to recognize what is good and what is evil. We know that Paul won this battle because he was finally able to say,
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ living in me.”
He is the example of what we must become before entering heaven.
It might seem this is beyond us, but with the help of God’s grace, it is possible. We have the same resources as Paul did. Even more than Paul because of the example and prayers of countless saints who have reached their perfection in heaven and can assist us on our journey. Like them, we have the Scriptures, the authority of the Church, and the sacraments which are the source of the grace that makes it possible for us to become saints, to do what we can only do with God’s help.
Becoming An Authentic Christian
We are all called to holiness even though we fall at times as all the saints did. When it is our desire to become spiritually mature, our faith will have a powerful influence on our lives and the decisions we make. Our faith will not only be a great benefit for us personally, but it will also have a positive impact on our families and on the Body of Christ. We will be able to draw from the goodness of our hearts to produce goodness and reach our goal to become an authentic Christian.
This, God can do in us if we have but the desire. Our Lord will give us the grace to make the changes we need to make if we pray, Jesus, I trust in you. Help me to be the person you created me to be, for my own happiness and the happiness of the people I love.
Deacon Tom Fox, K.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.