“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.
When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Sometimes the most important things go unsaid because we “don’t know what to say.” In the case of words of gratitude and important memories shared with a dying relative or friend, waiting until the right time can just become too late. Especially words of emotional depth and great meaning–forgiveness, sadness, gratitude, etc.–may just go unsaid because we wait and ponder until we know exactly what to say and how to say it. And most often for me, these important words go unsaid, buried just inside me in my interior folder titled “Regret.”
This very natural human fear of speaking wrongly or incompetently is reflected in today’s Gospel passage: “…do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.” Those moments when my heart is most burning with desire but my fear holds me back are those very moments when I most need to turn away from “me” and turn to two others: the person to whom I want to speak, and to the Holy Spirit.
First, I call upon the Lord to be with me, to trust in God’s wonderful gift of speech. And second I consider what the other person needs to hear from me. This is more important than giving into the interior fear and hesitation that I experience.
When have I recently felt this burning in my heart to say something deeply important and meaningful, but let the moment pass? Is it too late to invite (ok, “to push”) myself to go back to that opportunity? Can I trust in God’s love and grace in these important moments?
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. serves in campus ministry at Loyola University Chicago and is also minister of the Loyola Jesuit Community.
Lord, in those moments when my heart is most burning with desire to speak words to another but my fear holds me back, let your Holy Spirit be my guide. Help me to consider what the other person needs to hear and grant me the wisdom to speak with courage and consideration.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team