Tuesday, September 13, 2011


“The Lord has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear…” Isaiah 50: 4

Have you ever heard a sermon or a speech that woke you up, put a flame in your heart, or ignited some passion that was buried deep within you? Have you ever read something or heard a piece of music or a song that struck right to the center of your heart and moved you to tears or made you get up and dance?

I think the human soul has a great capacity for emotion and honor and ideals. I think we all aspire to something better, higher, greater. We are elevated by eloquence and beauty, by passion and determination, by Truth and loyalty. We recognize goodness and we want it. We yearn for peace and love. We hope for compassion and mercy.

But the culture of death seems to strike at these aspirations at every opportunity. People are mired in sin, people hate, they murder, they tear down and make fun of one another. People don’t forgive, they hold onto grudges, they want revenge. People are stressed, marriages are falling apart, we work too hard, we strive for things only to watch them crumble before our eyes through divorce, lay-offs, broken promises or natural disasters. And so as the ideals and aspirations of our souls collide with the realities of life thrown at us each day, we get weary. We get overwhelmed. We stop dreaming, stop hoping, stop trying and settle for mediocrity and “just getting by”.

This is not the life that Christ has called us to. Even in times of real sadness and strife, real pain and loss, the light of Christ should still burn deep in our hearts and bright enough for others to see. Recently Pope Benedict XVI said that Christians were not living faithful lives and that people are missing Christ because we fail to show Him to them. How do we do this?

Let’s start with the simple task of trying to daily rouse others. You know the person I am speaking about: the guy at work that is always down, the girl in your class at school that walks around with that painted smile on her face. The people you see in the grocery store, the mall, at the post office, driving around town. That kid on your soccer team, the elderly next door neighbor, the harried waitress serving you lunch. The words, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language we use has the power to rouse these people from their weariness. Can we solve all their problems? No, in fact we won’t even know what all of their problems are. But for the moments they encounter us, they will experience a kindness, a smile, an uplifting word. We might make their day or just give them a small moment to feel special, to feel noticed, to feel unique. To feel LOVED. And who knows, once they are roused from the burdens weighing them down, even for one brief second, the grace of God through that encounter might take root in their souls and remind them of the aspirations for beauty and Truth and greatness. And maybe, just maybe, they stop settling for second best, for mediocrity, for just getting by, and they wake up the next day and begin to change the world.

Dear Jesus, please help me to see beyond my own pain and suffering and become a word to others each day. A word that will rouse them from their weariness and instill a desire for greatness in all that I meet. Amen.

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