This writing is a reflection from a simple sinful man about thinking and thoughts, as they are the precursors of words and actions, and how our thoughts can give glory to God. When I was growing up I would often hear from some of the adults in my life say “Don’t do as I do, do as I say” and even then as a small child that didn’t seem right and probably like you, when I grew older the phrase “What you do speaks so loudly, that I can’t hear what you say,” has become my and it seems the world’s universal mantra that unconsciously monitors relationships with others.
I was prompted to write this reflection because of the blah, blah, blah I would hear in many conversations, including my own at times. I thought a reflective probe into this topic could be fruitful to us, giving a deeper understanding of our thoughts and how they impact our words and actions in relationships with others as well as with our God.
I’m going to be the first to admit that many of my thoughts are hollow, my words sometimes insincere and my actions are those that sometimes don’t give glory to God because I’m sinful like everybody else. We are all human and we make mistakes. That’s why the mercy of God is so precious and we need the Son of God, Jesus, as our Savior.
Of course, the perfect thoughts of God are so incredible, that galaxies and all that is contained in them come forth. All life and even our very next breath is in God’s thoughts. His words are Truth, which, indeed, when applied to our lives, we can become more like Mary and her son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who is indeed the Word of God. And God’s actions become the miracles that continue creation moment to moment, if we have eyes to see.
As for us humans, at first glance, in the hierarchy of meaningfulness, thoughts are at the bottom of the totem pole, compared to words and action. Our mind is an amazing facet of human life, instilled by God Himself. The thoughts of our minds seem sometimes an ever, endless, inaudible chatter that can or can not have any real impact on our own lives or the lives of others. But our thoughts are the forerunners of our words and actions, either consciously or unconsciously. As we think, we do. It is obvious that there are different levels of thought; from sinful thought, those thoughts that distant us from God, to contemplative thoughts, thoughts that unite us to God, and everything in between.
In this reflection I will refer to two classes of thought; collective and uncollective. Thoughts that I will refer to as uncollective thought are those endless, inaudible, frivolous thoughts that come and go, inspired by only our human natural senses, that are a dime a dozen and have no real value. We could liken these thoughts with idleness of the mind. These thoughts can be sinful thoughts because they are not infused with love of God or neighbor. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, sinful thoughts are often hidden in that incessant chatter of our minds within all thought, so much so, that we can sin without realizing it. In our naturalness, we neglect charity often times and interwoven with our good thoughts (collective thought), we find with introspection, thoughts that are insidiously infused with pride, lust, intolerance, and judgement, to name a few, and are detrimental to our relationships with people and God..
However, collective thought, is thought that is pervaded by the love of God, in the midst of the world and incessant chatter, and can be fleeting and elusive if we don’t make striving for an intimate relationship with God a priority. And even then because of our human weaknesses and lack of discipline, 100% collective thought would be improbable in this life. However, it can be an ideal that we can strive for and is what Saint Paul alluded to in his letter to the Corinthians when he wrote to them about the love of Christ overwhelming us to the point of putting on the mind of Christ and a forgetting of self. This self annihilation would free us to think collectively, rather than to rely on our own natural thoughts, that are often uncollective, therefore susceptible to sin.
I suppose one could make a case that there is another form of thought in between the positive collective thoughts and the negative uncollective sinful thoughts and I would understand that. But I feel that these middle of the road thoughts that are neither positive or negative are really collective thought because we are in fact thinking and fulfilling God’s design for human beings, much like animals naturally doing what God calls them to do. These thoughts are part of His creation for humans, therefore good. And if a measurement was to be made, these middle of the road thoughts would make up a large percentage of our thought. These thoughts include our everyday kind of decisions about eating, clothing, work, relationships, etc.
So these collective and uncollective thoughts are intermingled within our minds in all of our waking moments. So what are we to do with them? If our desire is to glorify our Lord with our life, we want to move more to collective thought and move from uncollective thought. How do we do that? Well, I’m on this journey as you are and I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I think that common sense would start us looking in the right direction. “Put on the mind of Christ”, St Paul tells us. To think like Christ helps us become like Christ. If we do what Jesus did and teaches us to do in the Gospels, to gain our eternal salvation, we will definitely be thinking the right way. Theodore Roosevelt said “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” And I would add that it is much more than that. What would it be worth to you to know that your thoughts are leading you to salvation and fulfilling God’s plan for your life? Incredibly peaceful and then our words and actions will follow our thinking and we will no doubt give glory to God with our lives. And I’m sure that if you are giving glory to God with your life, your relationships with other people will be flourishing as well because you have learned to love; real love, the sacrificial gift of yourself.
Then there will be no one that uses the phrase, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say”, with regards to you because your life will be a testimony of how you think without uttering a word. And in reality, isn’t this true of all of us?