This evening as we prayed Compline, I was struck again concerning the battle going on today between the voices that utter truth and those that tell lies! We were warned: “Keep alert and watch because your adversary the devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking to devour. Resist evil strong in faith” (1 Peter 5:8–9).
Billions of words confront us daily! Words matter! Loud lying voices drown out others speaking truth. Which of the following statements would you have your child hear, given the fact that a child’s mind and spirit are so susceptible to whatever is spoken, either directly to a child or merely within his/her range of hearing?
“Come and see.”
“How did you ever get to be where you are now, you Thug? Idiot?”
“Will you help me, please?”
“Come, come to Me and I will give you life…”
“Just remember: ‘It’s not a lie if you believe it!’”
“I’m not a criminal!”
“To secure freedom requires destroying its enemies!”
“An athlete cannot receive the winner’s crown except by competing according to the rules.”
Of the eight statements, which ones did you choose to have spoken to or heard by your child? (One, three, four, and eight hopefully!) Words matter! We cannot be sufficiently conscious of that truth while we read and/or discern what we read or speak! Why? Because words live and are active!
My sisters and brothers, it is not too late to take that advice to heart! Listen to the words…and to your heart’s response…as you read the eminently clear message from St. Paul to the Romans (12:1–2):
So, here is what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life…your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life…and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Do not become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You will be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Eugene E. Peterson’s rendition of that Pauline passage can scarcely be clearer and more concise. His words matter for us, especially today!
Renée Domeier, OSB