Last week, we discussed the work one need do to imagine and then research a chapter on a Rule of life. here on out for a while till lent, we will look at various chapters, the notes needed, the scripture available, the famous minds on the subject and how to begin a draft. Here is a resulting draft of the chapter on The Word, which comes first because it is how Jesus comes to us and because they come too many, too casually and too recklessly. What would your chapter look like?
Rule of Life
The Reverend Canon Charles LaFond
Jesus came to us – God came to us – as The Word made meat. And in John’s gospel, the Word is life and the light of all people. This must mean that God, who could have come as the idea, or the notion, or the image or the thought – God must consider words to be important. This means I want to consider them important too.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God.” John 1
I love what William Safire says: “Is sloppiness in speech caused by ignorance or apathy. I don’t know and I don’t care.” It reminds me that I must take great care with my words. My father once dropped a drop of ink on my palm as he gave me a pen on my birthday and said, “Son, this drop of ink can bless or kill. Be careful with your words and with this pen.”
Words said about me – those inflamed with flattery or engorged with bile and manipulation need to be left alone. Words I say need to be true, honest and withheld if they hurt others – except in rare cases when justice demands speaking out – and then only after much thought, prayer and counsel.
Mindfulness and prayer will help me to see what I need to see. That seeing will help me with words. And so wordless prayer must be central to my life daily in order to mind my spoken and written words.
At the doorway of my home is a sign: “Welcome, all who enter. When using words, speak only what is kind and true in this house and only if it improves on the silence you find here.” I want to choose friends and colleagues who speak truth and love silence.
As a writer, written letters with ink and paper are important to me. I want to write beautiful letters to friends. Write letters, Charles that bless and do not harm. As a cook, meals hosted at my dinner table are also important to me. The words spoken around my table are important – they nourish. In those meals may our words bless and not harm. As a priest, I have taken a vow to take my place in the counsels of the Church. Even there my words and those of others are important. May they bless and not harm. As a friend I have a garden of friends – may I till that soil, feed that soil, tend and weed and pluck such that my real friendships flourish in the midst of the words we speak to each other.
When I am angry, may God bring me always back to mindfulness so that I may see poisonous words before they are spoken or written. There are too many words and too many gadgets which bring me words by buzzing, dinging, pinging and vibrating. There are even too many words in our liturgies. So I will be particularly mindful of limiting words on my Sabbath Day and in retreats so that I may rest from all but those words which bless and nourish.
My dog, “Kai” reminds me of how much love can be given and received without words. His name comes from “Kairos” – that silence in which God loves and plays. Let that be my guide.
Now, write yours:
TITLE: THE WORD Chapter One
What do you see in scripture, church tradition or reason regarding this topic?
What do you see in yourself regarding this topic?
What are your goals for how your life will express this topic?
What measures will you take to encourage the goals you have set for yourself (people, resources, checks and balances, boundaries, etc.)?
What do you seek from God in assistance regarding this topic?