How many times have I spoken a word to rouse my children? Get out of bed, finish your homework, eat your supper, pick up your room. Raising six children, I was forever rousing someone. Yet, was it always with a well-trained tongue? That’s the tricky part. That’s the challenge. From the prophet, Isaiah: “The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.” In this moment, with this child, how am I to rouse? What words do I use? Like Isaiah, how do I preach?
According to Church documents, parents “should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children.” To preach effectively—to make God known and loved—we must develop a well-trained tongue, knowing when and how to speak of our faith. We must rely on the Spirit to teach and train us "morning after morning" through prayer, Scripture, and silence.
The Triduum provides the perfect time to preach—to proclaim God’s wonderful works—by sharing these fundamental Scriptures of Holy Week and Easter. We preach with a well-trained tongue by reading the Scripture, and then speaking of God’s infinite love for each of us. We speak of Jesus, who willingly gave up His life to free us from sin and death. And of His Resurrection, which opened the gates of Heaven!
We witness to our children each time we speak. Do they hear the voice of Judas when we gossip about a friend? Or the voice of Peter when denying someone because it could cost us status? Do they hear the anger of the crowd against Jesus when we rage against another in the parking lot? Do they detect the voice of indifference to Jesus when we skip Church or waste time? Or, do they hear the voice of Mary of Magdala when we befriend an outsider? Do they hear John, the beloved, when we stand with the prisoner? Do our children hear Jesus’ mother, Mary, when we stay close to the cross—no matter how difficult? Do they hear Isaiah, when we rouse the person who is down or lethargic? When we are angry, do they see us step back, take a deep breath, pray about the situation, and then respond with a well-trained tongue? Our children are listening, every single moment, every single time. How are we preaching? What witness are we giving?
In this pandemic, there are family members, friends, neighbors, and even strangers in need of a word to rouse them—to give them hope for the future. Many of our children are sad, confused, or depressed and in need of guidance and encouragement. As Christians, in all situations, we are to witness to our Lord’s suffering, death, and resurrection as the model for life. With a well-trained tongue, we are to speak Jesus’ words, “Do not be afraid.” Now, that’s good news!
Do you have a well-trained tongue?
How will you be more mindful of the words you speak?
Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on Scripture through the lens of a parent/grandparent. To contact Mary about her reflections, to chat, or to inquire about a speaking engagement: www.mary pedersen.com
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.