Grace to you!
There is a unique aura or presence associated with the holy. It could be experienced in words, actions, etc. It’s a unique spiritual power and authority. Any person on the path to holiness shares in that authority, at least in some ways.
For instance, people who knew Saint Padre Pio (Francesco Forgione) give many testimonies about how his words had a piercing power and authority.
I remember when I visited Mother Angelica in 2011. She held my hand steadily for about 20 minutes and I had chills all over me. Though she was already bedridden, her unspoken words and smiles came with that gripping power.
There are tons of examples. You may have witnessed such too. What accounts for the power and authority of words?
Before the Lord Jesus Christ came on earth, Greek philosophers saw the connection between a word and a person; and they spent a chunk of time arguing about what makes for a powerful speech. Cicero and the Stoics, Plato and Aristotle, were leading figures in that debate. They wanted to establish the connection between pathos, ethos and logos, as three modes of effective or persuasive speech. Ethos refers to the personal credibility of the speaker, pathos to how the speaker connects with the audience, and logos refers to the facts and truth and logical value of the speech.
A great speaker seems to know and combine these three and they flow as one in the speaker. For the Greeks, a speaker with such qualities is fittingly called an orator, a word which for the Greeks, is different from what many understand an orator to be in our time. In fact, it was an ideal hardly met by the greatest speakers of the time on consistent bases.
In the case of Christ, all three are fused as one undivided and continuous whole. Much more, they have divine life in them because Jesus the Christ is God’s Word Itself. He is The Holy, God. When people heard him speak, they were “astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority” (Luke 4:31).
When Jesus Christ, the Word of God, speaks, his word dismantles the power of evil, casts out Satan and cleanses the debris of evil. The Psalmist referring to this Word of God says, “He spoke and it came to be. He commanded and it sprang into being” (Ps 33:9).
Jesus spoke to the unclean spirit: “Be quiet! Come out of him.” The demon threw the man down in front of the people and came out of him, to the amazement of the audience (Luke 4:35-36).
Surprised, the people exclaimed: “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits and they come out” (Luke 4:35).
Think about the power of rebirth, the power of the sacraments, and the power of renewal. Isn’t it by speaking Jesus’ word during the moment of consecration within the Eucharistic celebration that the mere bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ? Isn’t it by the power of Christ’s word that the mere water of Baptism could make us God’s special children?
We can go on and on regarding different channels of grace we have in the Church that become effective when the word (called the form of the sacrament) is proclaimed upon material elements, making them sources of life giving grace. Amazing grace!
May the power and authority of God’s Word, Christ, minister to your needs. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday, Week 22 Ordinary Time: 1 Thes 5:1-6, 9-11; Luke 4:31-37]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.