Word of Mouth-Something to Meditate On

Written by Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan, Visitation Alumna

Sunday we attended mass at Ascension. After listening to Father Michael O’Connell’s voice read the Gospel with beauty and conviction we listened to him unpack the following scene:

Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.”

Father Michael O’Connell, paused, looked at us, and began to speak of addictions that hold us back, or that might be our “thorn,” to heal from to become whole, able to do God’s will here. Then he became quite serious. He said, “I think our country has an epidemic happening, and the epidemic is talking about people in unkind, unjust ways.” He continued, “The most dangerous weapon I know, and for me to say this in the context of north Minneapolis says something, is right here!” He pointed at his mouth. Silence filled the congregation.

How do we cease this epidemic from continuing? How do we stop it from being passed on to the next generation?

Father O’Connell then lovingly invited us to use our mouths, our voice for love, for healing, for spreading the good news about ourselves and one another. And to let go of what has become a “knee-jerk reaction” in our country of looking for people’s short comings.

I might add to this invitation to not tolerate others talking ill about others in your presence. It is each of our duties to invite one another to use our mouths for the greater good of our community. For far too often what we say becomes not only our perceptions but then our reality. Think with care, and speak with care.

How can you curb the tendency to speak ill-will in your life? How can you use your voice for beauty, for love, for healing, for justice and compassion?

What are you being invited to be for the world?

by Guest Blogger Tom Klein,*  “Following the Spirit” Discernment Series Participant

“What is there for me to do, give, share, be open to, receive, …  What is possible, what would Jesus ask of me?” — Tom Klein

Tom Klein, FTS Discerner 2012

Tom Klein, FTS Discerner 2012

I believe if we live a faith-filled life we are to have a sense of boldness on behalf of the gospel and all God’s people, we will act as if people have something to offer, we encourage people to consider from where they live, in this chapter of their life – what is there for me to do, give, share, be open to, receive, …  what is possible, what would Jesus ask of me?

Some people search their whole life for the answer to the question: ‘what is the meaning of life?’ Alfred Adler- the psychologist who brought pro-social values to psychology – had the meaning of life edited down to a single word: CONTRIBUTION. I believe that every single person, irrespective of life circumstances, can do something, can be a life-giving presence in the circles they travel in … no matter what is going on. — Tom Klein

People can get in a pickle because they give too much, give to get, give for the wrong reasons, give to impress, give reluctantly, … and conversely people can withhold or not give because they have never been asked, never paused, never got connected to a person or cause bigger than their own life.

Perhaps part of the meaning of life is truly about making one’s contribution, with good intentions, no strings attached.

Maybe, just maybe, by inviting people to go deeper, to find who they are and what they want to or can share in this chapter of their life you are helping them to find a niche to contribute that fits for them today.


Tom with fellow FTS Discerners, Spring 2012

Tom with fellow FTS Discerners, Spring 2012

*About the Author:

Thomas Klein is a Spring 2012 Following the Spirit discernment participant who comes to us through two primary connections:
1) getting related to the Visitation Sisters during his board development work with the Cookie Cart, a North Side non-profit offering youth a formative initial work experience and

2) an ongoing Men’s Spirituality group grounded in Fr. Richard Rohr’s cross cultural studies of Men’s Rites of Passage (How cultures initiate boys to become men, what happens if they are not initiated, …)

and How Jesus invites us to be REAL (living from our deepest True Self with no one to impress, squarely facing the pain in our lives until it transforms us – and offering each of us new possibilities to be free, be present, be love AND be in solidarity with all God’s people).