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All Good Things
March 24, 2024

Words Matter

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.”

- Isaiah 50:4 (Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion, First Reading)

Words matter. For those of us who work in academia, we know this to be true, as words influence how we convey our ideas and our research. For those of us that work in student support services, we know that words have the power to motivate a struggling student or bring a sense of calm to a student experiencing anxiety. In pastoral care, words have the power to heal, to reconcile, and to forgive. For those of us in administrative leadership, we know that a word well-chosen has the power to unite a group of people in pursuit of a common cause. We all have experiences where we’ve rejoiced at the celebration of finding just the right word. True, also, haven’t we all had the experience of lamenting upon the use of the wrong word, at the absolutely wrong time?

According to the book of Isaiah, “The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.”

On this Palm Sunday, we are reminded that our tongue—and the words that it helps produce as we communicate with one another—is indeed from God. In a way, we are asked by God to sustain others in our community with well-chosen words. Today, maybe now more than ever, our words can be come leaven for a weary world.

As we approach the conclusion of Lent, how have we been mindful of how we use words? Are there words that have emerged during our Lenten journey that have brought us comfort, peace, joy, encouragement, sustenance, hope? How might we be able to use our new-found Lenten vocabulary to sustain the weary among us? How can our words be leaven as we lift others up and bring our communities, families, classrooms, and workplaces together?

Words matter. Let’s commit to finding words that make others less weary; words that bring others closer to Christ.

Dr. Chris Haug
Provincial Assistant & Director of Apostolic Mission & Charism
Congregation of Holy Cross, US Province of Priests and Brothers, Notre Dame, Indiana

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