Thought of the Day February 17, 2022 The tongue: sweet or sour

By 10:34 AM

"If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination wishes. In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers. Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can salt water yield fresh." (Letter of St. James 3:2-12)

As I reflect on this passage, I realize how true it is for many of us. God created us for his glory and praise and for us to be with him forever in glory. Every part of our body has a special role to play in fulfilling our purpose. At the same time different parts of our body can be used to draw us away from God. Each needs to be controlled or it will take a life of its own. The tongue is no exception. It could be sweet, giving praise to God, speaking in love to others or it can be sour by judging or degrading others. What can make a difference? The grace of God and our cooperation and attentiveness. The sour result of our tongue reflects the sinfulness of our hearts. The sweet result of our tongue reflects from our relation with God. Be attentive and learn each day to use the tongue even in small ways for the glory of God and the good of others.

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