What Language Do You Speak?

Blog by Sr. Nancy Garson, OP
Blog by Sr. Nancy Garson, OP

Around the world there are hundreds of languages: Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Swahili, and more.  There are also the languages of ideas, science, medicine, philosophy, psychology, just to name a few. Where I live, in our motherhouse, our version of English is from Boston, China, New Orleans, Zambia, Brooklyn, Kentucky, Zimbabwe, Ohio, Philadelphia, and more. On top of all these we could add nonverbal facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language.  When I look at all this hodgepodge of how we speak, I find myself astounded that any effective communication occurs at all.

There is, thank God, a language that is universal.  Some call it the language of love, others call it compassion.  It is the language that makes it possible for us to connect with another human being on a deep and meaningful level, no matter the language we speak.  Love is where the heart and mind of two people touch and each are transformed by a shared  moment.  Compassion is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, listening to their story without judgement or criticism.

Recently, compassion was spoken by the two women from different countries who fell in their race during the Olympics. They helped each other up and encouraged each other to finish the race.  We saw it when strangers in Baton Rouge, LA risked their own lives to rescue a woman and her dog from a car that was going under the flood waters and when those who had boats went about taking others to safety.  These acts of caring, compassion, and love that a news camera happened to catch, they touched me. Because of it I experienced the goodness in others and I felt encouraged by their bravery and compassion.

Learning the language of love is much like learning any language.  We listen to those who speak it.  We practice speaking the language with those around us and we help each other get the pronunciation right.  The more often we use it the more universal it becomes.

I know the challenge for me is to come from the place deep within where I recognize the many acts of loving and caring that surround me daily.  When I take this in it has the power to soften my sharp edges and make me gentler, less judgmental, and a lot more loving and compassionate to those around me and those far off who suffer around the world.

Loving God, help me and all humanity to learn the language of love that we will live it and speak it clearly each day.  Amen.

Posted in Weekly Word

15 responses to “What Language Do You Speak?

  1. Nancy, A little late on the reading but am sure glad that I got to it. I think your mention of the picture of the Runners caught it perfectly! I’m going to try and find it and put it up on my refrigerator “bulletin board.” Thanks so much.

  2. Thank you, Nancy.
    I am reminded of the fact that one can’t always interpret what the face of another is saying. 🙂 I’ve been wrong about that – haven’t I? Thanks for teaching me your language of expression. May we all strive to truly listen and to understand each other no matter what language is used.
    Blessings and much peace,

  3. Thanks Nancy,
    We need to hear this message every day to let the Holy Spirit flow in and through us. We all fall short yet we have so many opportunities to begin again and again.


  4. Thanks, Nancy, for your lovely reflection. Love – the more you use it the easier it becomes. God bless. Kathleen

  5. Nancy, thanks so much for your message today. You reminded me that many acts of loving and caring surround me daily. I know that it has the power to soften my sharp edges and make me gentler, less judgmental, and a lot more loving and compassionate to those around me and those far off who suffer around the world. The Language of Love in our lives keeps us mindful of peace in new ways!

  6. Great preaching, Nancy! Love the interplay of languages and metaphors as a way of deepening our attentiveness to how we speak the language of love and compassion!

  7. Thanks, Nancy, for reminding us that the spoken language is not the only way we are able to connect deeply with others…and the language of love requires the least amount of study…it only needs practice! You have given us much to think about with your words!

  8. Thanks, Nancy. What a good reminder to walk, talk and think LOVE each day as we meet with people each day.

  9. Thanks, Nancy, for reminding me that everyday I am given endless opportunities to act out of love and compassion. It really becomes a way of being when I practice as many times as the opportunity arises.

  10. Great reflections, Nancy! I think that Jesus would like to enroll all of us in his course on “The Language of Love”.


    1. We speak in so many ways and we don’t even realize we are speaking. A smile speaks of caring. A touch on someones shoulder speaks of “I care.” An embrace speaks of “You are special.” Thank you Nancy for your deep and spiritual sharing.

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