Woe is me, my mother, that you ever bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me. Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. I did not sit in the company of merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat alone, for you had filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail. Therefore thus says the Lord: If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them.
And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, says the Lord. I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.
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.
A phrase from today’s first reading caught my attention: “If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them.”
I know people who speak wisdom. They speak little, but when they do, what they say is valuable and worthwhile. They don’t waste their breath on the worthless, trivial, and vile. Those are the people I turn to when I want real help and not just a confirmation of my prejudices or inclinations. They foster transformation by attraction rather than promotion. I see Jesus like that, someone who, fueled by deep and consistent prayer, uttered what is precious and the people turned to him.
I cringe thinking of all the goofy, useless things I will likely utter today. What can you do now, to prepare to communicate what’s precious rather than worthless today?
—Tom McGrath is a spiritual director and the Director of Trade Books atLoyola Press in Chicago. Click here to enjoy Loyola Press’s “31 Days with St. Ignatius,” a month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality in honor of St. Ignatius’ Feast Day on July 31. Content includes articles, blog posts, and videos to help you learn about and apply the principles of Ignatian spirituality.
My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
—Psalm 49: 3