Let us avoid the empty words

Don`t you hear what that blessed Zossima, who related the life of Saint Mary (the Egyptian) said about those holy men from the monastery where he had been brought by the providence of God how they went out of their monastery and spent the forty days of the Great Lent in the desert not staying with one another and if one met another they ran going away and they didn`t suffer to stay close to one another? In the same way when they returned to the monastery nobody as they say didn`t ask someone else about what he had seen or done in the desert and they all lived like some strangers and transient people (Jews 11, 13) and as if they had spoken foreign languages; surely they didn`t do this thing for anything else, I think, but for taking care not to say an empty word with their mouth  (Matthew 12, 36; Ephesians 4, 29).

Thus if those ones spent so many years and days without speaking with one another what would happen to us who not even in these few days don`t avoid encounters and vain discussion. Why to say days when we can`t refrain even for a single hour? What will we do my good brothers if being in this way the Judge and God of everything would come all of a sudden Who in the Day of Judgment will ask for account from us for any empty word (Matthew 12, 36)? How will we be able to control the rest of our passions when we don`t control our tongue? Tell me what passion is easier than this one from all the passions? The body which has its natural desire and arousal rises against the spirit (Galatians 5, 17) and fights with the soul, the stomach wants food because it was made for these; so if we don`t control the habit of our tongue thing which is easy for us how could we ever refrain from harder and bigger things like desire and pleasure which have a great power coming out from our own nature?

Therefore making a start from today my brothers let us run as long as we have power like some eagles with golden wings to easily rejoice in the Passover of the Lord where as a forerunner of us Christ our Lord entered (Hebrews 6, 20) rejecting all the passions which torment us. Let us put, if you like, a rule in the middle of us by a public council if except for Saturday and Sunday there would be found two men enjoying idleness and staying in useless discussions not to be given to them anything else to eat on that day only dry bread with salt and cold water which to taste standing at the low edge of the table. Having this rule obeyed you will keep yourself away of vain talk and chatter without blame and you will serve God for whom you put an enclosure door around your lips and a guard against your mouths

(Psalms 140, 3), and you will give me, your worthless father, much comfort and you will fill with joy my humble soul and you will find a great benefit for your souls.

Excerpt from Saint Simeon the New Theologian – Catechesis, Writings II, Catechesis 12in Philocaly, Deisis Publishing via http://ziarullumina.ro.

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