Book Talk Tuesday, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 3, Chapter 26

Book Talk Tuesday, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 3, Chapter 26

CHAPTER XXVI. Of Conversation; and, first, how to Speak of God.

PHYSICIANS judge to a great extent as to the health or disease of a man
by the state of his tongue, and our words are a true test of the state
of our soul. “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words
thou shalt be condemned,” [127] the Saviour says. We are apt to apply
the hand quickly to the place where we feel pain, and so too the tongue
is quick to point out what we love.

If you love God heartily, my child, you will often speak of Him among
your relations, household and familiar friends, and that because “the
mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of
judgment.” [128] Even as the bee touches nought save honey with his
tongue, so should your lips be ever sweetened with your God, knowing
nothing more pleasant than to praise and bless His Holy Name,–as we
are told that when S. Francis uttered the Name of the Lord, he seemed
to feel the sweetness lingering on his lips, and could not let it go.
But always remember, when you speak of God, that He is God; and speak
reverently and with devotion,–not affectedly or as if you were
preaching, but with a spirit of meekness, love, and humility; dropping
honey from your lips (like the Bride in the Canticles [129] ) in devout
and pious words, as you speak to one or another around, in your secret
heart the while asking God to let this soft heavenly dew sink into
their minds as they hearken. And remember very specially always to
fulfil this angelic task meekly and lovingly, not as though you were
reproving others, but rather winning them. It is wonderful how
attractive a gentle, pleasant manner is, and how much it wins hearts.

Take care, then, never to speak of God, or those things which concern
Him, in a merely formal, conventional manner; but with earnestness and
devotion, avoiding the affected way in which some professedly religious
people are perpetually interlarding their conversation with pious words
and sayings, after a most unseasonable and unthinking manner. Too often
they imagine that they really are themselves as pious as their words,
which probably is not the case.

[127] S. Matt. xii. 37.

[128] Ps. xxxvii. 30.

[129] Cant. iv. 11.