Once a priest was giving the communion and suddenly it fell into the plate and the girl who was standing to receive the communion suddenly uttered, O Shit! This is what today’s response which we have at the tip of our tongue. The tongue is more important than we think. It does not help taste food alone, but also helps to talk, to spit, to swallow.
God created human beings perfectly and we are responsible to be grateful to Him. Gratefulness comes from uttering sweet words, appreciating, soothing and comforting words. Tongue can do so many great things at the same time though it is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits and do so many distractive things. So, a tongue can sink a marriage, a church, a good relationship, a job and just about anything else you can imagine. Words can build and unite relationships; words can break the unity. “With the tongue, we bless the Lord and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God”
One such person who was simple and intelligent, filled with the blessings of speech was St Anthony of Padua. On 15th February, we celebrate the feast of the relic of St Anthony. The fresh incorruptible tongue of St. Anthony even after eight centuries of his death is certainly a favour bestowed on him by God Almighty for the relentless service he had done in preaching the Word of God. A saint possessed all the qualities necessary to an eloquent preacher. Even aft er his death in 13th June 1231, when the coffin was opened, it was found that the saint’s tongue was intact and fresh like. St Bonaventure the minister general, seeing this exclaimed, “O blessed tongue, which has always blessed God and caused others to bless Him, now it appears evident how great were your merits before God”.
If we love life and desire to see a good day, then keep the tongue from evil words and lips from lying because “A lying tongue” is an abomination to God (Prov 6:17). A person who speaks angry words always ends up with regrets for what they said; this harms the person on the receiving end. However, the tongue of the wise can oft en heal what the rash person has inflicted (Prov 12:18). For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue.
As we feel proud of our beloved saint for the favour he has received from God Almighty let us try to imitate him in using the gift of speech God has given us in spreading the Kingdom of God. “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing’’ (Jam 3:10).
There couldn’t be a change unless we change our attitude and tame our tongue and start a new in this New Year. “Let us use the gift of speech to glorify God and not abuse it”.
Fr Johnson Fernandes OFM Cap