A Thought for the Week with Fr Frank

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews -

I’ve made a wee bit of a New Year res­o­lu­tion: not to have an opin­ion about every­thing. Or, to be more ac­cu­rate, not to feel a need to give an opin­ion on every­thing!

There’s so much opin­ion and out­rage in the me­dia and in gen­eral con­ver­sa­tion. At one end of the scale it’s the whole de­bate over Brexit, and at the other it’s whether

Greggs are be­tray­ing a na­tional trea­sure by mak­ing a ve­gan sausage roll!

So I’ve de­cided to tell my­self that I don’t al­ways have some­thing new to con­trib­ute, and maybe I should just keep my mouth shut some­times.

And an amaz­ing thing hap­pens when I don’t talk: I start to pay more at­ten­tion to what oth­ers say. And I have two great role mod­els from the Christ­mas story:

Firstly, Joseph, Christ’s step­fa­ther. Do you know how many lines of di­a­logue he has in the Bi­ble? None!

This is the man cho­sen by God to care for the in­fant Je­sus and his mother Mary and he says ex­actly noth­ing.

He just gets on with the job, the quiet man. Maybe I could learn from him.

And then there is Mary, the mother of Je­sus.

There is a lovely line in Luke’s Gospel, af­ter the shep­herds come to see the child in the manger, af­ter them telling of the cho­rus of an­gels that they wit­nessed: “As for Mary, she trea­sured all these things and pon­dered them in her heart”.

It’s an im­por­tant enough sen­ti­ment that Luke re­peats it at the end of the in­fancy nar­ra­tive: “His mother stored up all these things in her heart”. Mary lis­tens and re­flects.

So I’m go­ing to try to be bit more re­flec­tive, to lis­ten more and say less.

If I do give an opin­ion I want it to be more than just white noise.

I heard a Church of Scot­land min­is­ter a while ago on the ra­dio re­peat three con­di­tions he’d learned from his mother about when to say some­thing: Is it true? Is it nec­es­sary? Is it kind? How many things that we say fall short of that test?

So how about it? Do you fancy tak­ing a breath be­fore giv­ing an opin­ion?

You might even leave a wee gap for God to speak. Fr Frank Dougan St Mark’s and St An­thony’s

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