20140414 Words communicate truth 言語傳遞真理

St. Francis de Sales pointed out that our words are a faithful index to the state of our soul. He wrote, “Our hand is quickly raised to the spot where we are wounded, and our tongue turns as quickly to the subject we delight in.”
If we love God, we will frequently speak of Him. The saint said, “Always speak of God as God, by which I mean reverently and piously, never pompously as if you were preaching, but with gentleness, charity, and humility.”
The saint pointed out that we should not use many words that are unprofitable. In conversation, quality matters more than quantity.
He wrote, “Our aim should be to avoid both extremes. An excessive reserve and stiffness, which stands aloof from familiar friendly conversation, is untrusting, and implies a certain sort of contemptuous pride; while an incessant chatter and babble, leaving no opportunity for others to put in their word, is frivolous and troublesome.”

Modesty in conversation
St. Francis urged the faithful to exercise modesty in conversation and to avoid any impure expressions. He wrote, “The body is poisoned through the mouth, even so is the heart through the ear; and the tongue which does the deed is a murderer.”
The saint advised that “If any foolish person addresses you in unseemly language, show that you are displeased by turning away, or by whatever other method your discretion may indicate.”
We should avoid a spirit of mockery in conversation. However, a play upon words, in all modesty and good-humour, is not harmful. Only we must beware of turning it into mockery, which causes laughter at the expense of our neighbour.

Sins against truth
St. Francis warned against the sins of rash judgment, detraction, and slander. A person commits the sin of rash judgment when, without sufficient reason, he believes something harmful to another’s character.
The saint pointed out that we must seek the motives of rash judgments in order to cure it. Some people judge others harshly out of bitterness or pride. Others do so to excuse their own vices or through a feeling of dislike. A good remedy against rash judgment is charity, for “Charity thinks no evil” (1 Cor. 13:5).
St. Francis wrote, “It is not always wrong to doubt our neighbours. We are forbidden to judge, not to doubt; but still we should not indulge doubt or suspicion without great caution, and only insofar as these are based on reason and argument, otherwise our doubts and suspicions are rash.”
A person commits the sin of detraction when, without good reason, he makes known the hidden faults of another, and a person commits the sin of calumny or slander when by lying he injures the good name of another.
St. Francis wrote, “He who unjustly takes away his neighbour’s good name is guilty of sin and is bound to make reparation, according to the nature of his evil speaking; since no man can enter into heaven cumbered with stolen goods, and of all worldly possessions the most precious is a good name.”
“Slander is a kind of murder; for we all have three lives: a spiritual life, which depends upon the grace of God; a bodily life, depending on the soul; and a civil life, consisting in a good reputation. Sin deprives us of the first, death of the second, and slander of the third.”
“But the slanderer commits three several murders with his idle tongue: he destroys his own soul and that of him who hearkens, as well as causing civil death to the object of his slander; for, as Saint Bernard says, the devil has possession both of the slanderer and of those who listen to him, of the tongue of the one, the ear of the other.”

聖方濟.沙雷指出,我們的言談,是反映靈魂是否忠實的指標;他寫道:「假如我們受傷,會迅速用手掩蓋著傷口,而我們的舌頭,很自然地說出我們喜愛的話題。」如果我們愛天主,亦會喜愛常常提及祂。聖人又說:「當提及天主時,我充滿恭敬與熱愛之情,永不會傲慢地像你在講道似的,但懷着温良、仁愛、和謙遜。」

 

聖人繼而補充,寫道:「我們交談時,小心別走兩個極端。一則,要避免內容過份保留和局促,令人感到疏離,彼此缺乏信任,甚至被對方誤解輕蔑高傲,失去親切融洽交談的機會。二則,絮絮不休、叨叨不絕地說話,讓別人無從回應,也容易不自覺地禍從口出,徙添煩惱,盡現輕浮草率的缺點。」

 

謹口慎言

 

聖方濟敦促信眾常要謹口慎言,避免違反貞潔的言辭。他寫著:「身體中毒,因為吃得不潔,內心被荼毒,皆因所聞失實,始作蛹者俱是口舌妄為,猶如殺手!」

 

聖人勸誡說:「遇到有人說出不合宜的話時,你們大可以轉身而去,又或者用其它適宜的方法,表達你們的不悅或不贊同。」

 

含有嘲弄意思的言談要不得,但輕鬆幽默的言辭,卻又無傷大雅;總之,要切忌不自覺地變成取笑戲弄,把喜樂建在別人的尷尬難堪上。

 

違返真理的罪

 

聖方濟警告,要對抗莽斷、誹謗和流言蜚語的罪。沒有合理或足夠理據,卻去相信有損別人的事,便犯了鹵莽判斷之罪。他建議,要杜絕莽斷,要先尋找莽斷的根源。很多時,我們只緣於難過或驕傲作祟,又會因感到不悅或自我解說自己的錯行,便容易犯下莽斷。最有效治療莽斷的慣罪,莫如愛德了。因為「愛是不作無禮的事,不求己益,不動怒,不圖謀惡事。〔聖保祿致格林多人前書13:5〕」

 

聖方濟寫道:「我們不應莽斷,懷有疑心卻又未必是錯事,只要合理和小心去懷疑,最好能再通過討論,才做判斷;否則,連懷疑或疑心,也屬於鹵莽。」

 

萬一沒有充足又缺乏合宜的理由,而去揭發別人的瘡疤,等於作了流言蜚語;以謊言誹謗,達到傷害他人的名聲,更明顯是犯罪。

 

聖人教導:不義地損害別人的聲譽,是犯了罪,需要按他所說的賠補。既然拿著偷得來的東西,不能進入天國,偷了別人的名聲,一樣進不了天國。

 

「誹謗等同於謀殺。每一個人有三種生命:超性生命依靠天主的聖寵,肉身的生命依賴靈魂,社會的生命在於名譽。罪破壞第一種生命,死亡破壞第二種生命,而誹謗破壞第三種生命。」

「但誹謗者而舌頭犯了三重的謀殺:他殺害自己的靈魂,也殺害聆聽者的靈魂,又致死誹謗對象的社會生命;正如聖伯爾納鐸所說:魔鬼坐擁誹謗者的口舌,同時攫取了聽信讒言人的耳朵。」

 

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