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  • Sarah Raad

Speaking

Updated: May 10, 2021

Let us speak to proclaim the Good News of the Lord!

The Ruins of Jerusalem (Yossi Rosenstein)

I have recently been praying for all the silent souls and all these quiet and vulnerable souls come into my prayers. And so, I pray for the babies killed by their mothers, before they are even born. I pray for the children born into the world who learn from the examples set before them. I pray for the partners and the children who are abused and who are too afraid to speak. I pray for the elderly, who are alone or unheard – pushed to where they do not wish to go by people who have little time to wait. And then, my prayers zoom back again to the Lost Souls of Purgatory, and I pray and I pray and I pray for these suffering souls, who have not the power to pray for themselves…


The other day during Mass, my nine-year-old son was distracted and speaking and distracting his older brother and younger sister. I turned to him and said in an angry whisper, “Now is the time to pray and not to speak.” He answered me, “Mum, I have prayed a million prayers for the Lost Souls in Purgatory. I’m sure they’re all out now. Now I can speak.”


I had to laugh. He is a character. After all, we speak about the Holy Souls every day and together, we often imagine how it will feel to embrace them in Paradise when we see them there. Can you imagine the love we will feel from those Holy Souls in eternity? Can you imagine the power of that embrace? I can almost feel it now – unfathomable love. Through this – through these prayers – we could be heroes!


And what is it that a true hero does?


As I have mentioned a few times before, I teach a lot of English literature in my work, and many many genres of English literature explore the role, definition and characterisation of the HERO.


A hero is the character who is the main character of the text, which can be an adventure or fantasy story, a classical tragedy or comedy, or even a bildungsroman work.


The hero, by its very definition must be a good person, and to be a good person, that means that the hero is someone who does good deeds and speaks good words. This goodness can be expressed as someone who is brave in the face of danger or who acts for the benefit of others, even at their own expense.

One important characteristic of a hero – perhaps the most important characteristic – is that heroes speak! If the did not know how to speak, they could not champion the causes of which they are heroes and we would never understand what it is that they were doing. It is their ability to communicate – through their words and their actions – that make them so good…

In reflecting on these heroes of literature, I consider as well, the heroes of God. Those heroes of God are not called heroes. They have a different name in Sacred Scripture. In Sacred Scripture, these heroes are called Prophets.

But they are heroes all the same.


Just look to the Old Testament…


Consider the Prophet Jeremiah. He was a young man and when God commanded him to speak, he said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But God answered him saying, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Be not afraid of them, for I am with you.” (Jeremiah 1:6-7). He was brave in the face of danger and for the benefit of others. He was a hero!


Consider Moses – he stuttered! When God commanded him to go to Pharaoh, he answered, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent...I am slow of speech and of tongue.” But God answered him too, “Who has made man's mouth? ...Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Exodus 4:11-12). He was brave in the face of danger and for the benefit of others. He was a hero!


And in the New Testament…


Consider Saint John the Baptist… “John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘I am a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’’” (John 1:23). He was brave in the face of danger – even to the point of death – and his actions were for the benefit of others. He was a hero!

These heroes, these prophets – they spoke – even when they were afraid. Even when they felt alone. Even when they were confronted with a myriad of human limitations.

They spoke, because they knew that their speaking would bring others to God…


Saint Faustina wrote in her diary, “I pray most of all for souls that are experiencing inner sufferings.”


I love Saint Faustina… She is my hero… I pray for them too…


And I pray aloud now, because I have listened to the words of Saint Catherine of Siena... "We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence."


And from my heart, I speak to them with my writing, speaking aloud – only to bear forth the eternal love of Our Holy Lord.


After all, we are charged to speak… To proclaim the Good News of the Lord!


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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