“Christians must bite their tongues before gossiping. That will do us good because that way the tongue swells up, and you can’t talk.”
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sept. 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Last week I wrote about Pope Francis’ warning against gossip and speaking ill of one’s neighbor (“There is no such thing as innocent gossip.”) during his Sept. 13 homily at morning Mass. Read my Sept. 16 post here.
Earlier today at his weekly general audience at St. Peter’s Square Pope Francis continued on the theme of unity reminding that “Backstabbing and gossip hurt people and harm God’s desire for a united human family.” He went on to say that unity is a gift from God, but “often we struggle to live it out.” The Holy Father said that gossip “damages our Church, our parishes, and our communities.”
The crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square smiled and cheered when Pope Francis explained that “Christians must bite their tongues before gossiping. That will do us good because that way the tongue swells up, and you can’t talk” badly about others.
The Holy Father asked us to have the humility to resolve our personal conflicts “with patience and sacrifice” and to use the Prayer of St. Francis to strive to be instruments of God’s peace.
Sounds like a wonderful plan to me. May we each pray and meditate regularly on the words of this beautiful prayer as we work toward peace in our world, our communities, our families, and our hearts.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
–Prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi