BY SISTER LAURETTA LEIPZIG
We’ve all heard the adage, “Actions Speak Louder than Words.” Our actions prove who we really are,while our words often show who we want to be. It’s easy to forget that we are what we do and not whatwe say we’ll do. Yes, what we say can transmit a message to others, but what we do often makes a muchgreater impact on them. Words can teach, but actions really speak! Research says that only 7% of ourwords have some effect on others. Only 35% of our tone of voice either influences the listeners or turnsthem off. But 58% of our actions will make some type of genuine impact on those who are recipients ofour actions. Anyone can speak words, but if these numbers are true, we cannot deny that it is our actionsthat have greater power to make a difference in the lives of others. You might have heard this insightful quote: “We are the sermon we don’t know we’re peaching.”
Looking over these statistics on actions versus words, we ask ourselves what kind of persons are we?People who are mainly about talking and preaching, or are we people given to act upon our convictions.Are we just talkers or are we followers of Christ, who strive to take action in bringing about a betterworld? Jesus reminded us to let others “see our good works.”
At the 9/11 world-shattering attack a firefighter ran into one of the buildings to save as many people as possible. Hebrought the people out of toppling buildings and away from flames. No words – simply action!
A teenager was on her way to school and saw a blind man trying to cross the road in the midst of busy traffic. Therewas no one to help him, and he was in danger of getting hurt by the speeding vehicles. The girl immediately parkedher bicycle in front of a shop and requested the shop owner to look after it. She ran across to the blind man, tookhold of his white cane and told him to walk with her. She waved her hand at all the vehicles, signaling them to stop.No words – just action!
In John’s gospel he advises us: “Let us not love with words or speech only, but with actions and in truth.”Words come from our lips, but actions come from the heart. We are told that there are three steps leadingup to effective action. When we talk about something it is usually still a dream; When we envision it, itbecomes a possibility; But when we actually do the deed, it becomes a reality. No doubt if Mother Teresawere commenting on this topic, she would not have a multitude of words to tell us how to becompassionate people. She would tell us to simply just DO the work of God by serving your brothersand sisters. Mother Teresa preached with her feet and wrote her life with good, positive actions. Aswith her, and all the saints we celebrate this weekend, their faith produced action. Love in action becamea way of life for them! Similarly, none of us is exempt from the task of working out our faith through ouractions. Jesus told us, “If you love me, live out the commandments among your brothers and sisters.”This is the identification of a faith-filled person.
Love, then, requires action. Without love, action is merely a word. With love, we can courageouslyconnect our heart to feel what is happening, empathize with others, and respond to their needs. Withoutlove in action nothing changes – nothing is accomplished! St. Francis of Assisi told his followers,”Preach to the people and, if necessary, use words.” Take his advice and be a DOER of the word!