Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Talking by images

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one. Mt 5,33-37

One day, an economist explained to me the devaluation of the currency as follows: “Now, – he told me – if I water down half a glass of good wine, I get a greater quantity of wine, but of poor quality. The more water I add, the more it loses value”. The same thing happens to our words: the more words we use, the more they lose their meaning. Then, If we introduce oaths in our speeches which rely upon God to vouch for them in order to strengthen our words, we completely wipe out their value. So we also wipe out our personal credibility, which is conveyed through the credibility of our words. If you want to be more credible, you must learn how to express yourself by using fewer words. A secret to do this is to display the thoughts making use of images which, when caught by the listener, have the power to make their content available for a faster and more lasting understanding. It was the way to communicate which Jesus used when he explained the mysteries of the Kingdom by means of parables. An accomplished speech, though well articulated, must be either immediately understood or it loses its meaning; an image can be interiorized for the time necessary to release all the meanings it contains. “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No”: it means expressing your thoughts with the fewest words and, when possible, allowing the listener to take away an image, which continues to communicate even when the speech is over. When someone talks about the devaluation of currency, still today I can see that half a glass of watered wine. It is the power of images, which is also used in information technology today, and is the children’s favorite way of talking: “sleep, eat, poo”.

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