The Power of Words

Words are powerful things.  Words have the power to encourage someone who is feeling sad or to offer advice or counsel to someone seeking wisdom.  Words can heal, but words can wound as well.  We’ve all felt the sting of harsh words spoken to us by someone we love.  Words explain, describe, invent, illuminate and they also can obscure, deceive, distort and muddle.  In a very real way, your words define who you are, what you value and what you believe is true.
We speak to one another in order to communicate these values and beliefs.  Every Sunday at Mass, Catholics profess the Nicene Creed which was accepted at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. and is the summary of our Christian beliefs.  These words we speak are powerful and creative.  Powerful, because they express our most profound and personal truths and creative because they engender a community of shared belief in our professing them.
God used words to create the universe.  He spoke light into being and named the light “day” (Genesis 1:1-5).  God created the earth and the heavens and the seas.  He made everything that exists using the creative power of His words.  God’s word is all-powerful, perfectly life-giving and life-sustaining.  In the sense, God continues to sustain all of creation by “thinking” of it.  From the furthest galaxy to the tiniest grain of sand on a beach, God’s creative “word” holds everything in existence.  To our human minds, this creative power is unimaginable.  God’s words are so different from our own that we are left to ponder Him from what seems like a very great distance.  This is the feeling each of us has had as we stare up into the night sky, shot full of stars, and feel very small and insignificant in comparison.  It’s the feeling the Psalmist has when he writes:  “What is man that You are mindful of him?”(Psalm 8:4)
God answers this question in the Incarnation.  In Jesus, we no longer have to imagine the power of God’s words, because Jesus IS the Word of God.  As we affirm in our Creed:  “For us men and for our salvation, He came down from heaven.”  St. John begins his Gospel by telling us that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”(John 1:14).  Jesus is the Word of God.  The word God spoke to create the universe is Jesus Himself.  Unlike our human speech, the Word of God isn’t a thing—it is a Person.  His Word is creative, powerful, and life-giving.  His Word brought the world into being, and gave sight to the blind.  The Word separated the day from the night, and fed the multitudes with a few fishes and loaves of bread.  The Word, which hung the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky, wept at the death of His friend, Lazarus.
Unlike our words, God’s Word is perfect.  His Word is Truth.  When God spoke, there was Jesus.  As His children, we have to ask ourselves:  what does my speech bring into being?  If my word were to become incarnate, what would it look like?  Do my words heal and renew, or do they wound and belittle?  We are all called to become like Christ, the Logos.  Our words, like His, have the power to create.  What we create is our gift back to God, in thanksgiving for His Eternal Word of Salvation.
“My heart has poured forth my finest Word.” 
                                                  (Psalm 45:1-2)

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. frjuanvelez
    Jun 08, 2012 @ 17:30:58

    It is very good to reflect on the subject of this reflection and go deeper into this wonderful mystery. In Verbum Domini, Pope Benedict XVI writes: “God makes himself known to us as a mystery of infinite love in which the Father eternally utters his Word in the Holy Spirit. Consequently the Word, who from the beginning is with God and is God, reveals God himself in the dialogue of love between the divine persons, and invites us to share in that love. Created in the image and likeness of the God who is love, we can thus understand ourselves only in accepting the Word and in docility to the work of the Holy Spirit. In the light of the revelation made by God’s Word, the enigma of the human condition is definitively clarified.”
    Meditating on this Word and in dialogue with the Word we become a true image of God, and of His Word.


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