28 September, Monday — Words and the use of tongue maintain God’s friendship

Sep 28 – Memorial for St. Wenceslaus, martyr; Memorial for St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs

St. Wenceslaus (907-929) was the son of Vratislav I, Duke of Bohemia, whose family had been converted by St. Cyril and St. Methodius, and Drahomira, daughter of a pagan chief, who was baptised on her wedding day but apparently never seriously took to the faith. He was the grandson and student of St. Ludmilla.

When his father was killed during a pagan backlash against Christianity, Wenceslaus ascended to power as the Duke of Bohemia and fought the pagans with prayer and patience. He was murdered by his brother, Boleslaus, at the door of a church. Though he was killed for political reasons, he is normally listed as a martyr since the politics arose from his faith. Miracles have been reported at his tomb, and he is the subject of the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas.

  • Patron Saint Index

St. Laurence Ruiz (1600–1637) had a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both of whom were Christians. He learned Chinese and Tagalog from them, Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He was a professional calligrapher and documents transcriptionist. He was a member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. He was a married layman, and the father of two sons and a daughter.

For unknown reasons, Laurence was accused of murder. He sought asylum on board ship with three Dominican priests, St. Antonio Gonzalez, St. Guillermo Courtet, and St. Mguel de Aozaraza, a Japanese priest, St. Vincente Showozuka de la Cruz, and a layman St. Lazaro of Kyoto, a leper. Only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan during a time of intense Christian persecution.

Laurence could have gone to Formosa (modern Taiwan), but feared the Spaniards there would hang him, and so stayed with the missionaries as they landed at Okinawa. The group was soon exposed as Christian, arrested, and taken to Nagasaki. They were tortured in several ways for days. Laurence and the Japanese priest broke at one point, and were ready to renounce their faith in exchange for release, but after their moment of crisis, they reclaimed their faith and defied their tormentors. He was the first canonised Filipino martyr.

– Patron Saint Index

Job 1:6-22
Lk 9:46-50

In all this misfortune Job committed no sin nor offered any insult to God

The human tongue is a powerful tool — it is a deepening creative instrument that could pierce any layer of feelings. It ejects words that feed on the marrow of conscience and deposits sensory reactions that could keep or mar relationships. Words, in truth, are the products of the tongue and could be good or bad, promote death or life. Words communicate the dictation of human mind, and when they are directed at God, they carry monumental injection; and when they are addressed to our neighbours, God is the witness. When words are used and addressed to hurt feelings, the impacts resonate in the values of our relationships with God. The tongue’s sin could lead to sin of the body because words from tongues are invariably attached to corresponding deeds and actions.

The major disturbing state in the lifeline of any marriage is the issue of childbearing, that is, when it is proving difficult to understand the absence of a child in one’s marriage. The reason becomes harder to reach when this parturition process is difficult to be accomplished after sometime. This is when words could be weapons of distraction and could lead to rifts and marital disorder.

For many years, I have seen and related with many couples in my community who are facing this predictable situation of difficulty in childbearing, and are confronted with words in good and bad tastes. And yet many of them remained strong together, with confidence rooted in Job’s determination, not to sin by their lips or use words to pronounce foolish things against God. They continue to live in prayers and with prayers that communicate their requests to God. And looking at their faith and hope, God honoured two of these families early this year with their own children, their happiness and thanksgivings reached the sky. This proves that the wonders of God cannot be assessed by mortal minds; they cannot be judged or compared with anything, because they exist in God only. And when we are in need, it is instructive to know that prayers, the use of tongue and words are the only things that maintain friendship with God.

(Today’s Oxygen by Julius Otusorochukwu Dike, JP)

Prayer: Lord, Our Father in heaven, help us to keep our tongues and words in check, and command them to be used for things pleasing to you and to glorify your name and purpose. Help us to commit our words to bring love to our neighbours. Amen.

Thanksgiving:  Our dear Lord, and Father, we thank you for guiding the steps of our tongues and words as they are meant to serve and bring honour to your creation; we thank you for bringing this to fruition in our lives. Thank you Lord, Amen.

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