Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Desert Wisdom VI

While yet a child, Abba Ephrem had a dream and then a vision. A branch of vine came out of his tongue, grew bigger and filled everything under heaven. It was laden with beautiful fruit. All the birds of heaven came to eat of the fruit of the vine, and the more they ate, the more the fruit increased.
I don't know what Ephrem made of his dream. Later on he became a famous hymn-writer, so perhaps that is how he interpreted it: that from his lips would come forth choice hymns of praise...

When I read about the dream, I tend to think of much simpler things: about how the words we speak have an effect upon those who hear them.

Let me explain. I have a friend with a rare gift: she knows how to say 'thank you' when someone pays her a compliment. Usually I (perhaps you, too) tend to 'cut down' the 'tree' of praise from another's lips:

'That was really well done', says A.
'No, it's nothing really', replies B.

Not only has B lost the chance of receiving a (probably much needed) compliment, A has also been put down in the process. Perhaps A will go away and pay fewer compliments in the future...

If we are able to speak good things to others (and to keep on speaking them, even when they are chopped down as saplings), I am convinced that good nourishing fruit comes of it.

I know how much I have been fed by the good, generous, patient words of others; and I know too how I have been crushed by harsh, critical remarks.

One of the things 'salvation' means is that the seed of God's life takes root in a person and sprouts forth in goodness and life for others, in words (and actions) and not just in beliefs.


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