If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing

By Vivian Marino

My favorite mysteries of the rosary to pray are the Sorrowful. In fact, I look forward to Tuesdays and Fridays when I can take time to reflect on them. 

Within the sorrowful, the agony in the garden hits me the most, because we have all been in that garden in one way or another.

Something different happened the other day while I was praying; I had some sort of awakening pertaining to the order of the first three sorrowful mysteries, that is the agony, scourging followed by humiliation. 

I remember as a child the verse, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize that it is the words that cut the most; words said and words received. 

Proverbs 21:23 accurately summarizes my thoughts, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”

Whether it is the words to hurt or words to humiliate, it may be that the order of pain from the first three mysteries is from least to worst. In essence, the words and the humiliation can be worse than the physical scourging itself. 

That’s when it hit me the most – thinking how many times I have said things in haste without thinking of the irreversible damage it would cause.

Obviously, there are times when you must speak up, but there are other times when it would be best to sit in the pause before speaking. 

Physical wounds heal and, sometimes, there are no scars left for proof of damage. Words, on the other hand, can leave permanent scars on the heart. 

I can only imagine the emotional pain Jesus felt as insults were slung at him by the people he loved the most – the very same people he would die for to save. And later, these same people would experience intense regret for their words and actions after realizing who they had crucified.

Let us not forget what is stated in Proverbs 15:4, “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” This is my reminder to sit in the pause and chose my words wisely. It’s not easy, but well worth it.


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