The Limits of Words

The complete and full definition of something is often much deeper than the words that attempt to articulate it. In other words, how we define something may only express a mere part of the reality of the object being defined. That may be because we simply don’t know much about it yet. Or it may be that we simply can’t articulate a particular reality to the fullest extent using only words.

For example, we know that marriage is “the union of a man and a woman.” That is true. But does that express the full reality of a marriage? Of course not. And there are thousands of more beautiful words we can use to define marriage to help us more deeply understand its reality, but they still end up falling short in one way or another. Ultimately, the fullness of the reality of marriage can only be expressed by the marriage itself – not words.

This is one reason why evangelization and the real witness of our lives does not come from saying the right thing. It comes from doing the right thing. Actions don’t just speak louder than words, they also speak more profoundly and completely.

And remember, when using words, to leave room for what the words are unable to say.

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