Father Ed's point: speaking too much and/or in the wrong ways causes all sorts of problems, and, he notes, words can't be taken back once uttered. Father Ed:
In each instance, our goal is to find the preventive medicine rather than curative. The reason being is that once a word has been issued forth from the mouth, it cannot be retrieved. Much like when a rock is launched in the direction of a window pane, it cannot be returned to the hand but it instead goes out and shatters the glass in nearly an instant. So when it comes to taming the tongue, it is far better to prevent the stones of our words then to try to repair the damage.
Father Ed's Top 10 List of Speech abuses:
2. Telling white lies --
Father Ed: There was a moment when Charlie Brown told Lucy that what he told was only a white lie. Lucy responded: “Charlie, I did not know that lies come in colors.” In sum, your speech should always communicate the truth in the big as well as in the small things. Jesus reminds us that those who are faithful in the small will be faithful in the large.3. Shouting and yelling
4. Slander or calumny
5. Speaking gossip
6. Speaking in sarcasm -- I've commented about this problem here and more recently here.
7. Breaking confidence
9. Abusive and vulgar language -- I myself need to heed Father Ed's advice here:
While not as serious as blasphemy, a great abuse of the tongue is the all-too prevalent proliferation of vulgar language. Often words are used to degrade the human person as well as the intimate act that God has designed for the procreation of new human beings. This is wrong and should be brought to a screeching halt for those who are in the habit of using such ugly and indecent language.
We should never forget that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. As Catholics, our tongues partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus whenever we receive Holy Communion. As part of our preparation for Holy Communion we should tame the tongue to be ready to receive such a great gift.
We should act according to the dignity of who we are—Temples of the Living God. We ought to also act according to our dignity as future citizens of Heaven, our eternal home with God!10. Bragging and Boasting -- here Father Ed reminds us of the Magnificat, wherein Mary celebrates God's favor of the lowly. So much for the "it's all about me" ethic.
The Catechism reminds us that the Marian charism--interior piety--precedes the Petrine--visible authority (#773). Thus Father Ed's advice on speech certainly exhibits a Marian character. Observing and correcting these ten fatal abuses starts within and, while it obviously would and will pay external dividends--e.g., our friends will notice the change--the more profound change comes from within. As we celebrate in Ordinary Time before the arrival of Lent (three weeks to go!), Father Ed's blog offers not penitential or Lenten practice, but rather perhaps a Pre-Lenten workout regimen.
Read it all here.