Communication Skills

Jesus put His finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then He looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” — that is, “Be opened!” — And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. (Mark 7:33-35)

In this day and age, communication skills are very important. To succeed, we have to be good at P. R. We could say that the beginning of the 21st century is the Age of Communication Skills.

morse telegraphRight after Holy Baptism, the priest or deacon touches the ears and lips of the newly baptized and says, “Be opened.” The minister says, “May the Lord open your ears to hear His Word and your lips to proclaim His praise, to the glory of God the Father.”

The Creator became man to give us the most important communication skills. He took our human nature to Himself so that we could communicate with Him.

Let’s consider the gift that Christ has given us by opening our ears and loosening our tongues. To try to understand it, we have to go back to the beginning.

Continue reading “Communication Skills”

Another Beloved Poem

While we are on the subject of poetry, here is a poem that was published in the Catholic University Art & Literary Magazine back when I was an undergraduate in 1993.  I memorized it then, and it has been a companion since.


These are the woes, and rues, and lamentations

of the shackled mind,

too gentle to communicate,

too gentle to rend the air with

profession, protestation, or sound;

too gentle to cleave the minds of others

and make space in which to put

concerns and declarations, argument, refutations;

too gentle to speak in any language

but the eyes’ whispers,

words within words

the lonely non-sounds of waiting.


These are woes without expression:

they contemplate the desert

          and the starkness of its reds;

they contemplate the streetside

          and its barking and its roars.

They contemplate the sadness that drips from words exchanged by lovers without recourse but to burst—

          cups run over, words splash to the floor,

          lapped up with thirsty tongues to wet

          the parch these woes would wet with a wordless kiss.


These woes and rues and lamentations of the gentle mind,

its own master,

will not disturb the air.

They are quieter than night;

they move like clouds.

They and their coldness will be left outside at daybreak

          to run with the dogs.

Heat and light will fill them, and they will silently disappear.


I think that the secret of the resolution of the poem is prayer and the love of God.  Of course, it is good to communicate with other people.  Communication is important.  But sometimes it is difficult to find the words…