October 24, 2006

Emails from God

I was recently required to take a thirty-minute online class on writing business emails, which seemed mostly comprised of when not to write them. Our company is encouraging anything of even a slightly sensitive, controversial, important or confusing nature be handled by phone - or far more preferable - face-to-face.

There is a recognition in this that no matter how well-written the email, if you miss the facial expressions, the way something is said, the emphasis and the body language, you are potentially missing a good part of the message.

And I got to thinking if that was true with something like the words used in emails, how much more true of the words used in Scripture -- important, sensitive and sometimes controversial and confusing. Fortunately we have a context with the Church, for she is the one who gives emphasis, who gives us the "body language", who answers (sometimes) questions about things unclear. She speaks to us in a way we can understand, with warmth and assurance and under the guidance of the same Holy Spirit who originally inspired the words of the sacred authors. By listening to the Church, we are hearing the "email" explained in person. It can happen in many ways: we can draw upon the compassionate words of our confessor, learn as we watch the suffering of our late Holy Father, see the healing gaze of Mary in religious art, or taste the Host that is Christ.

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