Saturday, 1 March 2008

Useless , thoughtless words...

Discussing Jesus' admonition that "men will have to answer for every useless word on the day of judgment," Father Cantalamessa contended, "The opposition between the word of God and the word of men is presented here, implicitly, as an opposition between the word 'that works' and the word 'that does not work,' between the effective word and the ineffective and vain word."

He continued, "The useless word, for which men will have to answer on the Day of Judgment, is not, therefore, every and any useless word; it is rather the useless, empty word pronounced by him who should instead pronounce the 'energetic' words of God."

But the Pontifical Household preacher clarified: "The Bible is speaking about us. That word of Jesus does not judge the world, but the Church; the world will not be judged over useless words -- all of its words are, in the sense described above, useless words! […] The 'men' who must answer for every useless word are the men of the Church; we are the preachers of the word of God.

"I too am the false prophet, every time that I do not entrust myself to the 'weakness,' 'foolishness,' 'poverty' and 'nakedness' of the word and I cover it up, and I esteem what I have clothed it in more than the word itself, and the time that I spend covering it up is more than that which I spend with the word, remaining before it in prayer, worshipping it and allowing it to live in me.

"In the era of mass communication the Church too runs the risk of falling into the 'straw' of useless words, speaking just to say something, writing just because there are journals and newspapers to be filled."

The Capuchin noted, "The Holy Father reminded us of the necessity of this fast from words in his Lenten meeting with the pastors of Rome and I believe, as is his wont, his invitation was not first directed to the world but to the Church."

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