Scripture Reading -
Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.
Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart.
Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts.
Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.
A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.
St. Francis put backbiting in a category with snakebite. Slandering another person is injurious to the religious life. He felt strongly that it was an abomination like a devastating plague. This because the slanderer feeds on the blood of others who have been killed with the sword of the slanderer’s tongue.
Once Francis heard a friar destroy the reputation of another. He call for an immediate inquiry. “If you find that the accused friar is innocent, make an example of his accuser. Correct him severely.”
He made it a rule that if a friar stripped another friar of his good name, the accuser should be stripped and not allowed to pray until he had done everything possible to repair the damage he had done. It was Francis’s belief that the impiety of detractors is a greater sin than that of robbers. Christ told us the well-being of the soul is more important than the well-being of the body.
The Life of St. Francis
Take God with you wherever you go. During the next few days, make a special effort to be a “tabernacle” where God dwells. Cooperate with God to bring good wherever you walk - in the park, in your home, in your church - by praying for those you meet.
A Spiritual Formation Workbook by James Bryan Smith and Lynda Graybeal.
O our God, we would not hide our daily shortcomings from you. Oh! forgive us in Christ. Our Father, never let us be without the indwelling of your Holy Spirit for an hour. Let our lives be every day more unconscious of our own presence and more conscious of yours. Make us instruments in your hand for advancing your kingdom, and for uniting all Christians in this land; for the sake of him who loved us, and died for us, even Jesus Christ. Amen.
-Norman Macleod, 19