I sit sipping coffee on the couch of a friend. We get caught up on each other's kids, our husbands' jobs, and what new shows we've been watching. There's a story I want to tell about a mutual acquaintance, but I've made up my mind not to tell it. There are plenty of other things to talk about without resorting to gossip.
After a while the conversation lags, I listen to the clock ticking on the wall, and drain the last of the coffee from my mug. Well, maybe there's a way to tell the story without saying anything mean. After all, what's the harm in sharing an amusing anecdote?
I start to speak, choosing my words carefully at first. But Pandora's Box has been opened. What starts as humor turns into harshness, and before I know it, I've committed the sin I just promised myself I wouldn't.
The enemy looks for easy entry points into our lives. Most of the time it’s not the “big” sins that tempt us, it’s the “little” ones. A quick temper toward my children, a curt response to my husband, or a white lie to a friend may seem like not that big of a deal. But all of these little things we do and say actually matter a lot. Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “The things that come out from within are what defile” (Mark 7:15).
So what exactly is coming out of me? Kind words or cruel gossip? Acts of self-giving or selfishness? Peace or anger? A quick recap of the last 24 hours convicts me that I am in need of repentance, and makes me extra grateful for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The things that we do and say matter. Our words and actions, even the small ones, can lead us to either holiness or to sin. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to give us the grace and courage to choose holiness today and every day.
Listen to this sequence of "Come, Holy Spirit."
Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, and convert to the Catholic Faith. She is a classically trained pianist who, after teaching for ten years now stays home with her three young children. but still manages to flex her creative muscles through writing, knitting, and gardening. She is proud to call Saint Paul home and loves everything about living in Minnesota, except for winter. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book called Rise Up. You can find out more about her here.