Words are exchanged. Tension’s in the air. Do you bite your tongue or plunge ahead? Carefully discern what will help other people, says Ignatius. Sometimes we should act contrary to what we feel: speak when we want to be silent and silent when we want to speak.
We act thus because in this matter we should give more heed to the good of others than to our own desires. When the enemy thus tries to magnify or diminish the communication received, we must proceed for the purpose of helping others, like a man who is crossing a ford. If I find a good footing — that is, some way or hope of profiting the neighbor — I will pass right on. But if the ford is muddied or disturbed and there is danger that scandal may be taken from what I say, I will rein in and seek an occasion more favorable to what I have to say.
Ignatian spirituality is really practical. I am realizing this more and more. A situation came up… someone asked me a pointed question about herself, “So…do you that I am a…..?” Not a bad word here, just a, “label.” I answered in the affirmative. In my examen that evening, I found this was the incident in my day I was least grateful for. I thought about the fact that I am not obliged to answer any question, although I often feel compelled to do so. I would handle the situation differently, were it to come up again. I was led in the direction to… not try to fix it with her, as that might make it worse. It’s true what you mother said, “We usually don’t regret the words we don’t say.” But sometimes we do…that’s why it takes consciousness moment by moment.
Thanks for your daily articles, Jim. Blessings, Lyn
Wish I coould send this to everyone in the House and the Senate. Truly, that debt-celing battle has made everyone bruised.
Oh, wait — I could use this advice, too!
My parents are arguing right now. Normally this distresses me so much that I can’t help butting in. This post was a providential one indeed. Thank You Lord! Thank You for guiding me everyday of my life. Please help my parents to get along better real soon.
I continually struggle to learn this. When to speak and when to remain silent does indeed require discernment.