December 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
The saying, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” comes from today’s reading in Matthew 12:34. It actually reads, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” How we speak about life, especially of other people, is the test of God’s love in our hearts. The following 19th century folktale makes the point:
A young fellow who went about town slandering the town’s wise man. One day, he went to the wise man’s home and asked for forgiveness. The wise man, realizing that this man had not internalized the gravity of his transgressions, told him that he would forgive him on one condition: that he go home, take a feather pillow from his house, cut it up, and scatter the feathers to the wind. After he had done so, he should then return to the wise man’s house.
Though puzzled by this strange request, the young man was happy to be let off with so easy a penance. He quickly cut up the pillow, scattered the feathers, and returned to the house.
“Am I now forgiven?” he asked.
“Just one more thing,” the wise man said. “Go now and gather up all the feathers.”
“But that’s impossible. The wind has already scattered them.”
“Precisely,” he answered. “And though you may truly wish to correct the evil you have done, it is as impossible to repair the damage done by your words as it is to recover the feathers. Your words are out there in the marketplace, spreading hate, even as we speak.”
Indeed, what you say to others today reflects the overflow of the heart. May you speak out of the overflow of God’s love in your heart.