Today is the Saint’s Day for Vincent of Zaragoza (spellings can be varied, just ask Mark Twain *grin*), and it occurred to me that there are a few interesting things to note about Vincent. First, he was appointed Deacon to Valerius of Zaragoza, the Bishop, who is said to have had a speech impediment, and therefore did not speak often in public. As Deacon, it was his job to preach about Christ and assist conversions, but he also took upon himself to speak on behalf of Valerius. Valerius had the higher station, and yet when both were arrested by Diocletian, Vincent was the one put to death. At that point in time, I would have to believe that Diocletian would have considered Vincent the greater threat, as he was eloquent, and spoke of the “One God” and of Christ, convincing others through his teachings of the truth of the Faith. Valerius, while having greater authority, could not or would not speak in such a way as to accomplish the same. Vincent even convinced his prison guard to convert before his death.
So, this leads to another pair that spoke on behalf of God – Moses and Aaron, where Aaron spoke on behalf of his younger brother in the Egyptian court. In this their roles were distinctly different, in that Aaron played a “ministerial” role, while Moses directed what actions were to be taken. In this instance, it was a combination of both Word and Action that led to the freeing of the Jews.
And this leads to the concept of the Word, and the power of the Word. God spoke the world into existence. John points out that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. There are warnings about speaking throughout the Bible. Two commandments of ten are about speaking: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; you shall not take the name of the Lord in vain. Proverbs is full of warnings about speaking and the power of the Word. For liturgical churches, and from what I’ve experienced with Biblical churches, we all invoke the name of Jesus Christ for the power in our prayers.
It makes me curious, as there are so many modern sayings – look at what I do, not what I say; sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me; actions speak louder than words; well done is better than well said. It used to be that an agreement and a handshake was far better than a written contract – my word is my bond.
When did humanity decide that the Word has lost power? And I rather wonder, did God change his mind about the power of the Word? If not, should we perhaps learn to make sure that our Words match our actions, and that we are careful in what we say, seeing that there actually is quite a lot of power in the Word?
Adding this ’cause a lovely lady posted it to her Facebook page, and it’s a great reminder: