We often call out people who speak much but do little by saying, “Words are cheap.” Whenever we hear a politician or someone who speaks eloquently, we often think to ourselves, “Actions speak louder than words.” Therefore, words and actions have to go with one another because they are the extension of our soul.
In the day and age of social media and technological connectedness, in the time of constant newsfeed and information overload, it is so easy for us to be inundated with many empty words and vocal noises. We become people who tend to hear what we like or become very selective in what we would like to intake because we are filled with too many useless, meaningless, and empty words. Our world lacks integrity when it becomes implosively divided. It is divisive because its words and actions do not match its real substance and values. It speaks, judges, condemns, and criticizes much but does little to truly have its words have weight. It is filled with so many voices fighting for attention but those are nothing but empty noises. In such a day and age, we should not take for granted the immense power of our very own words when they are enlivened with real, personal, and virtuous actions.
Even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself warned His disciples that it is not enough to say that we believe but to really seek, embrace, and live the will of God in our lives. (cf. Matthew 7:21) He expects each and every one of His disciples — in the past and now — to live the faith that we profess! Jesus, the Living Word of God — the Logos of the Father — understands the life-giving power that words have.
The saints have reminded us that God our Father only spoke one Word, and that Word is Christ, who gives life to all things. Hence, when He ascended into heaven, the Lord sent forth the Holy Spirit to sanctify, lead, and fulfill what He has begun with His life and ministry. The purpose of our faith is to understand, love, and embrace the transformative acts of God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — through creation, redemption, and continual works of sanctification. We do this by loving what has been handed down to us by the Church through her Holy Tradition and in the Sacred Scriptures, hence living out this faith in both life and deeds so that people can see the transformative power of grace at work in us. Words have meaning and substance, they are life-giving and transformative, especially when they are joined to the Living Word of God and enlivened with personal, lively, and loving faith.
As Americans, too many of us are living a practical atheistic lifestyle. St. Pope John Paul II and many philosophers called it a lifestyle where we say that we believe, professing the faith on our lips, but not living as one who believes. We act like we are entitled to God‘s redemption, favors, and gifts because we are baptized or because we say that we are Christians; however, our lifestyle and everyday choices are contradictory to what we profess and believe. We tend to pick and choose what we like and make faith into something that serves our needs. Therefore, we can see the visible trend of degradation of morality within our own society because too many of us have separated faith from life, living as if “God does not exist” until we run out of our usual humanistic options.
Furthermore, we and many first-world countries like to separate our “faith” and moral life. We chase after a worldly lifestyle and its vices and ignore everything that the Lord and the Church teach by dismissing them as outdated, irrelevant, and hypocritical for the modern world. Yet, we remain unchanged because faith is never a fundamental transformation for us, just only something that we like, customize, pick and choose as we desire. In a sad way, we see a rise in many self-righteous Christians but not enough believers, many self-professed religious people but not enough disciples, because there is a rupture, dichotomy, and hypocrisy between words and actions with our very own life and deeds.
People remain unchanged because they have not really encountered the Lord. They are cultural or convenience-based “believers” who seek faith or religion when they need something. They expect Christianity to be inspiring and motivational but they are not willing to allow the light of truth to shine in the darkest corners of their lives. They rather like to use the Sacred Scriptures to condemn others, pointing the light at others to shame, condemn, and judge them, but they are too scared to see their own failures, lack of true light, and personal need for conversion. The truth sheds light because the truth comes from God, and He is the pure source of light and life.
The divine truth reveals what is true in the darkness of errors and lies. It reveals the true intention of the world and others, especially those who try to eloquently manipulate us to get what they want. In our own pride and errors, we often act like we are the masters of this world instead of His loving instruments and stewards. We often like to oppress and push our will upon others instead of allowing Him to shine His light through us, especially in our brokenness. We are scared of the light because we like to treat others as objects that can be used, manipulated, and disposable.
We are often scared of true faith because we are scared of looking at ourselves in all of its failures, limitations, and brokenness. We rather want to make God in our image instead of conforming our lives to His will. We are scared of our very own selves because we do not know who we are, since many of us have tried so hard to be someone popular, likable, in control, and what the world or others want. We would rather take on this world’s values instead of allowing Christ to reveal who we truly are. We like to remain behind our own dark corners of fears or castles of vanity that we have created for ourselves instead of allowing the light of truth to show us where we need to go. We are so scared of leaving ourselves in order to go on the journey to discover who we truly are in Christ Jesus because we are scared to let go of our petty and humanistic desires for power and self-made grandeur.
Even though the truth will be bright for our eyes at times, its rays of loving grace will transform us with its warmth, welcoming and leading us to true security and freedom found in God. The Almighty is ever patient with us to enlighten our minds and guide us toward Him with His loving grace. That is why He gave us the Church… for that purpose… so that we are not alone on our journey! Once we allow the His love to shine into the dark and cold corners of our souls, we will be able to heal, change, and become new in Him. Once we have recognized our dependency on Him, His light of truth will be able to shine through our own brokenness to welcome, enlighten, and be a source of warmth for others who are lost and seeking the truth.
The people who I truly respect and admire in this life are those who speak little but let their faith be enlivened with loving service and charity. They teach me more about how they live their faith than their words! That is why St. Pope John Paul II said in his speech to open the 2000 Jubilee Year — as we prepared to enter the third millennium — that the Church needs more witnesses than teachers.
We need people who are willing to testify to the truth and its transformative power than people who just teach or talk with words. Therefore, in the day and age where we hear a lot of people speak, much information available through technology and media, actions speak louder than words. In a time when everyone is worried about having their voices heard and being vocal about every little thing, silent sacrifices, perseverance, and faithfulness become a deafening reality for those who are listening and seeking the truth. Indeed, the truth does not need defending for it speaks loudly to those who are humble enough to acknowledge it. It speaks loudly when it is being enlivened by those who truly believe and dare to let it be the integral and foundational part of their lives by how they live with heartfelt, personal, and loving words and actions. Simply put, when we truly believe, how we live will radiate, welcome, enlighten, and be a source of warmth in this cold world of hypocrisy because God is with us.