Even for those of us in Texas without a direct connection to the events, September 11th will be marked in our memories until the day we die. While we all have our stories of where we were and what we were doing when he heard the news, many of us cannot remember September 12th with such detail. One thing is for sure, we all woke up the morning of the 12th with a different perspective and we knew that our world would never be the same.
In many ways, the tragedy did a lot of good to bring together our nation and removed our emphasis of political parties and even somewhat blinded us from the denominations of each others’ faith. We were all very proud to be an American, and sought to love our neighbors.
September 12, 2011, one decade later, we woke to a world just as broken as ever. Headlines today will focus on the many things that remind us of our state. Surrounded by the news of wars, famine, natural disasters, and economic woes, it can be easy to loose hope.
While much can be said about the necessity of living out our faith by our actions, we don’t often reflect on the words of our conversations. God very well knows that even with the best of intentions, our tongues can cause as much damage to ourselves as they can to others.
In these turbulent economic and political times, the words between Republicans and Democrats are often not out of charity, and I’m not just referring to those directly involved in politics. Even when we are convinced that God is on our side of an argument, no one profits from words of anger and hate.
Looking more intimately, how do we seek to build up our families, friends, and spouses? September 12, 2001 was filled with many families that sought to appreciate time and blessings. Many sought reconciliation with broken relationships, and other just looked to improved the good ones they had. As time passes from some of the vivid reminders, it’s easy to take each other for granted.
How different would our words be if we knew they were our last conversations? With all the memorial coverage of the past week, some of the more touching memories are the family and friends that received a phone call from a loved one that knew they were about to die. They all took the opportunity to share one thing – love.
Even in helping and correcting, our words go in vain if we do not speak with charity. Explicit anger and hate are easy to spot, but sometimes we just speak with more subtle offense. As insignificant as it may seem to many people, using crude language can harm us.
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Including Catholic circles online and off, once it is introduced to a space, it’s accepted and allowed more readily. It spreads quickly and slowly fills our mouths with offense in place of grace.
The same tongue that has cursed and used bad language is the same tongue that proclaims the glory of God in prayer. The tongue we’ve used to tear down our neighbors is the same tongue that receives our Lord in the Eucharist.
We are blessed that as unworthy as we act and live sometimes, we have a God that comes to offers us mercy and grace. Knowing His love, why wouldn’t we want to do all we can to avoid words that lead us away from Him? Our lives can be so much better and enjoyable if we use our words more to spread love and joy.
I pray that we Catholics can shine as examples of Christ love through a respectful and charitable approach of conversation, especially in politics as we prepare for next year’s election. Let us never forget the valuable lessons of September 11th, and may God continue to bless Texas and the USA.