Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11;Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14; Luke 4:31-37
Encourage one another and build one another up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Do you know someone with a gift of encouragement? Just being around this person can be a delight. Maybe he has said something to you that made you feel stronger and ready to face a challenging situation. Or perhaps her kind words have helped take a heavy burden from your mind. Even if you’re in a very difficult place in your life, words of encouragement can fill you with hope that you’ll see a brighter day soon.
Why is encouragement so powerful? First, it reminds us of how incredibly valuable—and valued—we are. We may have exceptional qualities or gifts that other people can see more clearly than we can. Remember, we are all created in the image of God. We all bear the marks of his fine craftsmanship. And encouragers have a knack for seeing and pointing out these gifts.
Second, a simple word of encouragement can foster within us a sense of trust and a desire for unity, because to encourage, one person must come alongside another. And it is so much better to walk the path of holiness together! Finally, according to Scripture, encouragement can “impart grace” to the people who hear it (Ephesians 4:29). In other words, offering encouragement is one way we can actually partner with the Holy Spirit. This is why St. Paul urged the Thessalonians to keep building each other up. He knew how powerful it is!
Don’t underestimate the power of encouragement! Instead, try to become an encourager yourself. It may take a while to develop this gift. But you can start out by choosing to say at least one encouraging thing each day—especially to your spouse, a family member, or a close friend. Over time, it will become second nature, especially as you see the effects your words are having on everyone!
So be on the lookout for qualities in other people that reflect God’s attributes. Then when you see them expressing these qualities, point it out to them. At the least, most people will feel honored and maybe even surprised that someone noticed something exceptional about them! But sometimes your words can go much further than you expect, and they will minister God’s own presence!
“Lord, may my speech impart grace to those who hear.”`WAU