Killing Me Softly

The Pope elaborated on the concept quoting from the first letter of St. John 3, 15 in which he says: “He who hates his brother is a murderer”. We are used to gossip – he continued – “but how many times our communities, even our families  have become a hell in which we criminally kill our brother with words”.

A community, a family – the Pope continued – can be destroyed by envy that sows evil in the heart and causes one to speak badly of the other”. In these days, Pope Francis said, days in which we are speaking so often of peace, we see the victims of arms, but we must also reflect on our daily arms: “badmouthing and gossip”. Every community – the Pope concluded – must live with the Lord and be “like heaven”.

“So that there is peace in a community, in a family, in a country, in the world, we must be with the Lord. And where the
Lord is, there is no envy, there is no criminality, there is no hatred, and there are no jealousies. There is brotherhood. Let this be our prayer to the Lord: never kill your neighbor with words”.

Text from page“words_can_kill”/en1-724883  of the Vatican Radio website

It’s always the little things, isn’t it?  Like Naaman the leper who isn’t satisfied with a few dunkings in the river.  He would have preferred some heroic act of faith and almost didn’t bother with the sevenfold scrubbing that ended up healing him of this scourge.  (2 Kings 5:1-19)   We always feel slighted when the task we are given seems too much like St Therese’s Little Way.  A little death to self here, a little lifting someone else up there.  Sending a giant bunch flowers after a fight seems to be so much more popular on television then making daily little choices to love.

Of course, no family is perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  I’ve seen good examples and poor examples in my life.  Happy families always seem to have parents who treat each other with respect.  These parents seem, almost out of habit, to check in, compliment each other and maintain harmony on a daily basis.  Not so happy families seem to have parents that disparage each other, behind closed doors but also in front of company.  Sure, they make up after a while, but it is a cycle that becomes as habitual as the building up of the other parents.  These are always little daily choices that add up, either way.

The weird thing is:  who on earth would want to be mostly irritated most of the time?  But starving the ego is probably one of the hardest things to do even though it is one of the slightest things one can do AND the best thing to do to harmonize a relationship.  Little everyday choices to “be subject to” or “love […] as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her” (Eph 5: 22-25) both build up, by cultivating trust.  Trust (action based on belief in the relationship with another) is just another word for faith.  My husband is encouraged to make any and all decisions for us (aside from where to eat dinner) because I trust in his love.  Does that mean he always chooses what I would prefer he chooses?  Heck no!  But it does mean that when he chooses something that I’m not so thrilled about, I am happy to go along side him anyway, because I know that he picked what he thought was best for us.

Communication is key.  Honest communication, like honest prayer.  I have a hard time telling God what I want because I feel like he knows already or I should just want what he wants.  Often, it’s mainly that I don’t always know if I’m heard or I wish I was a lot more humble than I am.  However, getting back into a routine of daily prayer has certainly opened my eyes to how well I am heard.  Not because I get what I want, but prayerful communication builds up trust through repetition.

It is never all sunshine and lollipops, but as a good friend said:  “It has to start with someone, why not me?”  The starting is the hard part, but the “obedience of faith” (to steal from Paul) can yield great results!

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