“Abba Isidore of Pelusia said, ‘To live without speaking is better than to speak without living. For the former who lives rightly does good even by his silence but the latter does no good even when he speaks. When words and life correspond to one another they are together the whole of philosophy.’”
The society that surrounded the desert elders was well aware of the power of rhetoric and beautiful speech. It was highly valued in that society as an art form. The learned employed the skills of rhetoric and reason as they explored the major philosophical questions of the day. Today we may not value rhetoric (or know what it is!) or lengthy, learned speech as an art form, but we are certainly taken in by sound bites, the “flash” of the latest gadgets, the non-stop social media that is part of our lives, and the constant search for entertainment. So-called reality programming gives us a way to escape the very real realty of our own lives.
This call to let our words correspond with our lives is, it seems, as important now as it was then. What we immerse ourselves in, and what occupies our days and minds and lives, is extremely important in terms of how we live our faith in Christ.
One word that comes to mind is “integrity”. When our words and actions match, we can find an inner peace that can speak to us of the presence and love of God. Jesus, as we meet him in the gospels, is the perfect example of integrity – what he said is what he lived, period. May we seek to do the same.