Ignatius of Loyola so wisely reminds us in the opening of the Spiritual Exercises that we should try to put the best possible construction on what a person is saying.

I confess that today, I failed miserably in that endeavour. All I could hear was the shaming language being used. I couldn’t get past that to the intent. And then my friend Michelle, who shares my passions for chemistry, Ignatian spirituality and blogging unintentionally came to my rescue (You can read her blog post http://quantumtheology.blogspot.co.za/2016/06/full-conscious-and-active-participation.html)

Some weeks ago I attended an event where one of the participants responded at some point in the proceedings by saying ‘I no longer use that language but…’. In this particular case the respondent had gone out of her way to attempt to engage with the image of God presented and had in fact had a good experience (inasmuch as I could gleen).

Too often though we resort to language as a kind of theological shibboleth. If you use the ‘right’ language which is somehow deemed to be more ‘evolved’ it makes you more worthy. This cannot be the truth.

Whilst I know that my image of God has evolved and the language that I use is also not what it would have been twenty years ago. There are those who still gain tremendous comfort from those images. The thing we all need to remember, is that whatever image we hold now is also limited and temporary. And that God shakes us all up sooner or later.

It is my deepest desire that I will never knowingly shame someone else for the image of God that they carry. To that end, if I ever inadvertently do so, I trust that those close to me will call me out when I fall into that particular error.

4 thoughts on “Words

  1. “How can we live in harmony? First we need to know we are all madly in love with the same God.” Daniel Ladinksy after St. Thomas Aquinas

    Thank you, Mags, for the reminder that no image we have is complete, but they are cherished nonetheless.

  2. I think in all our prayers we must be honest with God. Sometimes the words we feel we ‘ought’ to use are not what we are feeling in our hearts at that time. We must never be caught out ‘pretending’. He wants us as we are. I trust Him to make me aware if I am using incorrect imaging or language.

  3. Thank you again Mags. Your words console as they nurture. In my progress to maturity, I come from a position of passionate venting of opinions against hypocrisy and irregularities in the teachings of self-appointed prophets; oblivious of pain I may cause. Thanks to the Holy Father’s proclamation of the year of Mercy, I move on.

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