In the poem, “A Word in Season” St John Henry Newman asks the question that many of us have today as we try to live and work as Christians. How do we bear witness to those around us? In our current time, when the world seems to be ever more accepting of things that once were unimaginable, we may wonder what it is we should do to display God’s will. In what way might we speak Christ’s saving name?. Sin’s “close-marshall’d line” seems impenetrable. Do we stand as Paul did in the public square and boldly proclaim our faith? The answer Newman gives for this appropriate question is clear: pray and discern the season to remain silent and the season to speak. God will send the proper words in the proper seasons.
A Word in Season
O LORD! when sin’s close-marshall’d line
Assails Thy witness on his way,
How should he raise Thy glorious sign,
And how Thy will display?
Thy holy Paul, with soul of flame,
Rose on Mars’ hill, a soldier lone;
Shall I thus speak th’ Atoning Name,
Though with a heart of stone?
“Not so,” He said: “hush thee, and seek,
With thoughts in prayer and watchful eyes,
My seasons sent for thee to speak,
And use them as they rise.”
Gibraltar, December 17, 1832.