The Power of Words

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter my house. Speak just one word, then my boy will be healed.”

~Matthew 8:8

We are struck here by the power of the word.

The Roman centurion is a powerful man in the world of men. Soldiers obey his command. Yet, he is humbled by the illness of his boy, about which he can do nothing.

We are then presented with the greatness of his faith. Christ Jesus is “amazed” at his faith. The power of the Word combines with the power of faith and the boy is healed.

In our own lives, the Word, out of which all creation has come into being, has been “handed over” like the ring in “Lord of the Rings” to every human being, to do with it as they will. What great uplifting grace and healing power the word has when spoken at the right time and in the right combination.

Writers and poets spend endless hours refining and working to find exactly the right words to convey what they have to say. What tremendous joy when it works, as in these words from writer/poet Brian Doyle written about the time he and his wife were told that they could not have any children. (They ended up having three.)

“I would have prayed to all the gods who ever were or ever would be except I know somehow deep in my heart that there is one Breath, one Imagination, One Coherent Mercy, and that everything that IS came from and returns to that which we cannot explain or understand, but can only try to perceive the spoor, clues, evidence, effect, the music in and through and under all things.”

He is expressing the “Logos,” that which is in everything that is created. Nothing exists except through the Logos. Even that which cannot be expressed in words is Logos. And we delight in this TRUTH.

So how can it be that the word can be so easily misunderstood, misused and abused? How can it be the tool for manipulation and deception? We are as pained by falsehood and slander as we are delighted with truth and beauty.

We can take a stand against words which we know to be false. When they are directed at us personally, it is not so easy. We are often caught off guard. We don’t have the luxury of hours of contemplation and consideration before we respond. And so our words can also be rushed, reactionary, diminishing and false.

Let our time of contemplation inform us in our hour of need. Perhaps we will be calm and present enough to say the right thing at the right time. Or at least we will be able to hold back the hurtful response we would like to give at that moment. We are the “wordsmiths” and we have the keys to understanding, to healing and to the clarity we need to connect with one another.  Mindfulness and faith are our companions.

by Carol Kelly

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