"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips."
We have all become entangled in gossip as well as been victims of gossip at one time or another, and it leaves behind incredible hurt and scars with everlasting effects that damage our reputation, livelihood, and personal life. Especially, as Christians we understand that we are all called as the adopted children of God through our Baptismal consecration, where we have "put on Christ," (CCC, no. 1227) to share in His priesthood, and in His prophetic and royal mission (CCC, no. 1268). As "sons of light" are we bringing the light of Christ to others in our world when we spread false information to others about someone or share intimate details about another that does not concern us? Are we being a witness of Christ in the world to those who do not yet know Him? Do we believe that the unwholesome talk that comes from our mouths helps to build up the Mystical Body of Christ, and lets others see a foretaste of the Heavenly Kingdom?
© George Harrison - The Devil's Radio
It is by our Confirmation that we are called to be "ever greater witness to the Gospel in the world" (Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, no. 17), and we have the obligation to carry out the Church's mission in love and charity. The Sacrament of Confirmation enriches us with the strength of the Holy Spirit so that we can better witness to Christ in word and deed (CCC, no. 1285). It is our duty as His anointed sons and daughters that we be a sign of God's love in the world, and that means that the words that flow from our hearts must be in harmony with the heart of Christ.
"All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation." (Ad Gentes 11)
During the times I have spent sitting alone with Jesus in the Chapel, and praying before the Blessed Sacrament I have often pondered on what the conversation between the Holy Trinity would sound like in Heaven. When the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit speak with one another, what are they saying about me? The Triune Godhead's conversation in Heaven would never consist of any words that do not overflow with an abounding and endless Love for me. When the Father speaks to the Son it is only to share of His plans and hopes for me as His daughter. A true Father would never speak ill of His daughter, and would only discuss His Holy Will for me. Even when the Son speaks to the Father about the times I have failed Him by my weakness and my sins or the sufferings I have endured in my life I know the words He speaks would only be those of mercy and about the beautiful gift He has given me in the sharing of His wondrous Cross. What are the Words of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son, but only that which radiates truth and light.
When our tongues speak of evil by spreading deceit and lies or sharing the secrets of others we are failing to carry out our duty to act as witnesses of the Gospel, which is impelled by taking part in the life of the Church. (CCC, no. 2472) This is not from God, but from the evil one when we use our lips to act in a way that is contrary to the Gospels. If we bear false witness against our neighbor we wrong our neighbor, and have an obligation to repair the harm we have done not only to our brother or sister, but to restore our communion with God. It is by our sins that we not only wound ourselves, but we wound the entire Mystical Body of Christ, and bring offense against God, who is the Truth. "Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it." (CCC, no. 1850)
There is a story about gossip from the Italian priest, Saint Phillip Neri:
"One day a woman visited St. Philip Neri. Known for her wicked tongue and gossip, often stirring up the pot sharing other peoples’ faults, St. Philip gave her some money to go buy a chicken at the store. After the chicken was killed, St. Philip asked her, as she walked back, to pluck all the feathers off the chicken. The woman was delighted that the saintly St. Philip had asked her to do something for him. She went to buy the chicken, got it and as she walked back to St. Philip, she plucked every feather off and when arrived,handed him a freshly plucked chicken. He thanked her and then asked her another favor. “Now go back once more, and gather all the feathers of the chicken you just plucked.” She objected,“That is impossible, Father. The wind has scattered the feathers in every direction.”Then St. Philip Neri responded, “Let this be a lesson for you, for it is exactly the same with your wicked words. Just as the chicken feathers have been scattered by the wind in every direction, so have your wicked words been scattered in every direction by other people, repeating your stories!”
It is because of our great love of God that we should hold the desire in our hearts to follow the ways of our Lord by living in the truth. I love God therefore I want to follow His commandments, and no matter how many times I fail it is because I love Him that I will always seek pardon and absolution for my sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and try again to honor and bear witness to the truth. There is only one truth and that truth is that God loves us and wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves because we are all made in the image and likeness of the Triune God. We are to love our fellow brethren and live each day of our lives in the imitation of Christ Jesus.
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear". (Ephesians 4:29)
Before we permit words to leave our lips and slip from our tongue we should be asking ourselves, "Is it necessary? Is it kind? Will it build someone else up or tear them down? Despite our continuous struggle with concupiscence it is by God's grace that we can conscientiously and willingly choose to do good over evil. As Catholics we have the gift of the Eucharist; the Body and Blood of Christ, which strengthens us with sacramental grace and an increase of sanctifying grace, and the Sacrament of Confession, which grants us sacramental grace and the increase or restoration of sanctifying grace. Both of these sacraments bring us closer to our Lord, and leads our hearts to beat in unison with the Sacred Heart of Christ. As we continue our journey on the path to holiness let us make the decision today to not be one of the DJ's on the Devil's radio.