“Oh Bob!” she said as she held my arm, “where’ve you been?”
“Bbbut, bbbut,” I stammered, “I just missed coming here once!”
“I missed you,” she said and just as I was getting ready to fall into her arms I saw her eyes flit to someone else in the room and her grip on my hand relaxed and she was up and away. I watched as she gave the same treatment to another gullible fellow and then grinned to myself, “Sweet tongue!” I said to myself.
Over the years I’ve come across dozens like this woman, men who come up to me and utter the most heavenly lines and women who even go farther, but whose words mean nothing.
Some of them succeed, like Moses Mendelssohn:
Moses Mendelssohn, the grandfather of the famous German composer, was short of stature and even worse was hunch backed. He was also madly in love with the attractive daughter of a rich merchant in Hamburg.
One day when he visited the merchant he was allowed to up to her room to see her. The beautiful young woman was repulsed by his misshapen figure and did not even look up at him. Several attempts to make conversation with her failed.
Finally Moses asked in a low tone, “Do you believe marriages are made in heaven?”
“Yes,” she replied, “And do you?”
“Yes I do,” replied Moses and then continued, “When a boy is born, the Lord in heaven announces which girl he will marry. At my birth I was shown my future bride, but was told, “Your wife will be humpbacked! But I pleaded and said, Lord it would be a tragedy for the woman to be humpbacked; give me the hump and let the woman be beautiful and my prayer was answered!”
Well needless to say Moses got his bride, and I hope he had as good a heart as he had a tongue!
Then there’s the tale of a priest who was famous for his preaching! He now lay on his deathbed. Reviewing his life he realized he had used his eloquence to build up his reputation more than leading people to a spiritual life, so he felt troubled.
A friend of his noticing his discomfort came over to his bedside and said reassuringly, ” Have courage Fr Joe, when you die and go before God, just remind him of the excellent sermons you’ve preached.”
Fr Joe replied sadly and this time there was no oratory in his voice, “if the Lord does not remember them then there is certainly no use in me reminding him of them!”
I end with the sad words of Count Charles Talleyrand, “Speech,” he said, “was given to man to disguise his thoughts!”
Aha! So that puts a responsibility on you and me doesn’t it? To look beyond the sweetness of a gifted tongue and also contrary to what Talleyrand said, let us use our tongues to express the truth within us..!
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