"Sticks and stones can break my bones,
but words can never harm me."

So goes the ancient aphorism, God.

But while the words may do no physical harm, which heals in time, they can inflict emotional wounds which never heal.

Most of the harmful things said of us
are forgotten, long forgotten.

But some insults, for whatever reasons,
are so personal, so truly hurtful,
that they are deeply ingrained in memory
and may never be forgotten.

As You know, God, decades ago, a remark
was made to me in the midst of a teen-age
game of Spin the Bottle - we were to spin
the bottle and kiss whomever it pointed to.

A girl about to take her turn, said to me,
in front of all my friends,
"I would kiss anyone here except you!"
Not easy for a teen-ager just finding his way
toward manhood to forget, even in old age.

I pray you, Jesus, send down blessed mists
of amnesia, enveloping every evil or insulting remark I have ever made. I know that once spoken, we can never take back our words, but You, Lord, can erase
the memory of them.

Please let nothing insulting
which I have said be repeated, and please make anyone I have injured by my words
and anyone who heard those words, now forget them and the injury entirely.

Then, God, send my good Guardian Angel
to build a stone-strong fortress of defense
around my mind and my tongue, so that I will never, ever, again speak ill of any person.

Cut me slack regarding notorious public evildoers, but hold me to my pledge
of silence with regard to friends
and personal acquaintances.

Help me remember also, Strong Guardian Angel,
to "Judge not, that I may not be judged."

All this I pray to You, my Jesus,
Word made Flesh.








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