A Thought for the Week with Fr Frank
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