As this bulletin is being prepared while I am on pilgrimage in the Holy Land, I have asked Desire Sobiech to write an article. Desire is on staff and also one of our lay Word and Communion presiders.
The image on the left is a popular classroom poster. As the coordinator of our family faith formation program for grades 1-4, I have seen first-hand how lessons aimed at kids can provide profound insights for adults. This is, I think, one of those lessons.
The basic concept is simple, and at first glance, we may see ourselves as adhering to it fairly well. We wave to our neighbors, smile and say thank you to the cashier, and hold the door for strangers. But look a little closer, and I think we can all find areas of our life in which following these guidelines would require some changes to our behavior. For example, consider your interactions with those people you see most often and know best. Our First Reading tells us that our words reveal our true selves. Are the words we are using with our spouses, children or parents Inspiring? When we speak to, or about, our co-workers or those in our social circles, are our words Kind? Is what we are saying Necessary, or is it idle gossip?
Those of us who are active on social media also need to check our online behavior. Is the meme, tweet, or article I’m about to share Helpful? Do I know if it’s even True? When responding or reacting to those who disagree with me, am I Inspiring or simply attacking?
How might our world look if everyone strove to follow these basic rules for communication? But, alas, we can not control others’ behavior. Trying to do so will only lead us to focus on the splinters in others’ eyes while ignoring the plank in our own. Instead, we are called to recognize our words and actions as the seeds we plant in the world; when we plant good seeds, we will bear good fruit.