Thursday, February 3, 2011

The wisdom of the closed mouth

"Most of our conversation has no more merit or effect than to stir the air around us. We could all say so very much less without any fear of the world's becoming worse. In fact, if we practice with greater fidelity the virtue of the closed mouth, the world would probably be the better for it.

Not only that, but God alone knows all the grief we have caused ourselves by the imprudence and over-indulgence of our tongues. Many were the times when we felt like kicking ourselves halfway around the block for having said something we felt as if we would have given our right arms to have some of our spoken words revoked. No doubt about it, silence is good sense for everybody. Too bad we can't love it more!

'Silence braces the sinews of the soul'; it reinforces the powers of the mind. This is why it is so widely practiced in all religious communities. But, of course, it is not always easy. There are times when, catering to the gregariousness of our natures, we like to gather in groups and solve the problems of the day with our wise verbosity. Certainly when we entered religious life like hot cakes off the sizzling griddle of the world, we didn't get this business of silence. Like many other things, it went over our heads in the beginning. All it required was a little time for us to realize the wisdom of the closed mouth. We finally took St. James at his word when he said, 'If any man sin not with his tongue, the same is a perfect man.'"

-- Men in Sandals by Fr. Richard Madden, ocd

No comments: