Away With Words

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jul 17, 2023 6:00:00 AM

Words can take us away from stress, from boredom, from sadness. Wordplay, i.e. creating puns, is a double-take brain game that can be quite humorous. Of course, we have to choose our words carefully, depending on situations.

Words are like life: many have interesting histories, come from other countries or languages, and can get distorted and misinterpreted, misspelled or misunderstood. Many words aid in solving problems, help in categorization, but also can cause dissension. Certain words are overused while others pass out of popular usage. Words can follow fads and trends, just like life. Words are big and small, old and new. Special words can console and be very calming, while others can spark controversy.

In the reading from Matthew’s Gospel in yesterday’s Mass, Jesus uses his to teach in a long parable about a sower and the different places his seeds fall. Jesus used that as an analogy for the different ways of hearing the word of God and reacting to it. We are blessed that Jesus used so many wonderful words as he patiently taught the disciples. Hopefully we take the time to digest and understand his words and yield the fruit he wants us to yield.

We know that words often go in one ear and out the other. We get busy, distracted, weary and emotional. We might not pursue nuances or go deeper. When we pray, the words can become so habitual that the meanings diminish. We should not do away with words but use them thoughtfully.

The words we use in private prayer can bring us comfort and peace. Faith sharing and praying with others can be enlightening and faith-bolstering. We can use our words to teach, to enlighten, and draw closer to Jesus. We should not “do away” with words, but “come away” with words that enrich our communication with God and with each other.

St. Paul exhorts us in his letter to the Philippians (4:4-7):


   Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known

   to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and

   petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of

   God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ


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Topics: kindness, Sharon Krause

Two Words

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jul 10, 2023 6:00:00 AM

Happy birthday! Thank you! Merry Christmas! Wet Paint! Marry me! Get lost! Bug off! Love you! Each expression is composed of just two words, but we get the message…and sometimes, the attitude.

 I was at a hospital one day because I had to have a CAT scan. I found out after I got there that I had to “check in” in a particular office before going to the scan room. Stressed and anxious, I was a little put out that I had to sign in down the hall. As I was strolling around, there was an aide walking in the opposite direction. Out of the blue she said to me, “Nice outfit!”

 In my red capris and floral-patterned, red and white shirt, I was caught off guard, wrapped up in my own concerns. When she surprised me with that compliment, I smiled and said, “Thanks!”

 For that brief moment, my mood was lightened and my ego lightly stroked. The smile overruled my anxiety. Those two little words! Two words can change your mind, precipitate a smile, put you on the defensive, caution you of danger, or give you hope. Simple, yet meaningful.

 In the reading from Matthew’s Gospel in today’s liturgy, Jesus first says, “Courage, daughter!” (9:22) to the woman with a hemorrhage after she has touched the tassel of his cloak and is healed. And Jesus yells, “Go away!” (9:24) to the mourning crowd and then calls the official’s daughter back to life.Two-word attention-getters!

 Recently, I have tried the two-word phrase with people I encounter, even some I don’t know. I have surprised them with little affirmations or compliments, made them smile, and maybe uplifted them a little.”Nice hairdo!” “Pretty shirt!” “God bless!”

 Maybe today some of these “two-worders” can uplift us and give us food for prayer:

     Jesus saves.       Love overcomes!

     Jesus rose.         Spirit, come!

     Abba, Father!     Renewed hope!

     Thank God!         God surprises!

     Jesus forgives.   Blessings abound!

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Topics: kindness, Sharon Krause

Thoughtfulness 101

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jun 21, 2021 6:00:00 AM

I have often heard of courses designed to help students acquire skills they will need as adults. There are courses whereby a person learns how to make up a monthly budget, or care for a baby, or fill out tax forms, and probably, nowadays, how to use computer programs for various needs. I started thinking that perhaps there should be a course called “Thoughtfulness 101.”

Thoughtfulness mean being immersed in a meditative state, and that can certainly be useful, calming, and productive. My course on thoughtfulness, however, would be associated with the second meaning I found online in Oxford Languages: consideration for the needs of others.

Being thoughtful in this way takes a little extra time. We might have to slow down a bit. It involves pushing the focus off oneself and asks us to intentionally look at others. It can even be anonymous—for example, picking up some object someone had dropped onto the floor or holding a door open for someone coming behind you with their hands full. Thoughtfulness does not have to be expensive, moneywise or time wise. A greeting card can be purchased at a dollar store for 50 cents. Eye contact and a smile take only a second but can be contagious and encouraging.


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Topics: kindness, RENEW International, Sharon Krause, thoughtfulness

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