Sometimes the most important things go unsaid because we “don’t know what to say.” In the case of words of gratitude and important memories shared with a dying relative or friend, waiting until the right time can just become too late. Especially words of emotional depth and great meaning–forgiveness, sadness, gratitude, etc.–may just go unsaid because we wait and ponder until we know exactly what to say and how to say it. And most often for me, these important words go unsaid, buried just inside me in my interior folder titled “Regret.”
This very natural human fear of speaking wrongly or incompetently is reflected in today’s Gospel passage: “…do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.” Those moments when my heart is most burning with desire but my fear holds me back are those very moments when I most need to turn away from “me” and turn to two others: the person to whom I want to speak, and to the Holy Spirit.
First, I call upon the Lord to be with me, to trust in God’s wonderful gift of speech. And second I consider what the other person needs to hear from me. This is more important than giving into the interior fear and hesitation that I experience.
When have I recently felt this burning in my heart to say something deeply important and meaningful, but let the moment pass? Is it too late to invite (ok, “to push”) myself to go back to that opportunity? Can I trust in God’s love and grace in these important moments?
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. serves in campus ministry at Loyola University Chicago and is also minister of the Loyola Jesuit Community.