A reading from the beginning of the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians 1:1-5,8b-10
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen. For our Gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction. You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. In every place your faith in God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves openly declare about us what sort of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.
God entrusted us with speech so we could speak on His behalf. After the rebellion in the Garden of Eden, our speech has been wounded and, therefore, our communication skills as well. Our ability to express ourselves in truth and humility has become a means of deceiving, blaming, lying and manipulating.
How we interact with each other, what we say and do forms the foundation of our relationships. Saint Mother Teresa has said, " A smile is the beginning of love". One can feel the love and even see the smile in Paul's tender words to the Thessalonians. It was the first letter written to a struggling, yet vibrant
church that was only a few months old. And in spite of their weaknesses, Paul gave such encouraging words.
Many times we don't see any successes in our efforts--whether it be in our work, our work for the church, at home in the services we provide for our family or even at our office job. Sometimes we don't even see our day to day relationships improving or changing. We cannot measure if what we are and what we say make a difference in the lives of people we know and meet.
We all need words of encouragement and affirmation from time to time. We can tell someone how much you appreciate what they are doing or how well they did something. We can point out the "positives" rather than the "negatives" in their lives.
With Faith Hope and Love may we speak and deliver gracious words to people we meet. In trusting God we can speak words of truth, hope and encouragement. Confidence in His divine plan gives us the strength and gentleness in our speech inspite of the circumstances as we speak not our ideas but His. And may Mary's humility teach us that pride has no place in our little world as we make room for others in our hearts.