I pulled out our Imitation of Christ and opened the book randomly to Chapter 10 About Useless Gossiping.
Keep clear, as best you may, from the babel of human voices; it is wonderful what distraction is to be found in the discussion of worldly affairs, even when the motive for it is perfectly innocent. Frivolity is infectious, and makes easy prisoners of us. I wish I had kept silence, this many a time, instead of enjoying the society of my fellow men!
What is it that makes us so fond of talking, of gossiping with our friends? We hardly ever come away from it without a guilty conscience. What makes talkers of us, is that we find relaxation, on both sides, in the mere banding of words; we want an escape from the tedious whirligig of our thoughts. We like giving expression to what is in our minds, especially about the good things we enjoy, or would like to enjoy, and the difficulties we find in our way.
And the pity of it is that usually it does not good at all; we may get comfort from finding an outlet like that, but it interferes, more than a little, with that inward comfort which is the gift of God.
We need more watchfulness, more prayer; our time mustn't be frittered away in doing nothing. When you have leave and leisure of talking, let your talk be such as makes for spiritual profit. Victims as we are of bad habit, unambitious as we are about our souls' progress we speak so unguardedly! And, yet there is talk which can be a great spiritual help to us-I mean, the earnest exchange of ideas about things; especially when two souls, well matched in temper and disposition, find themselves drawn together in God.
Translated by Ronald Knox and Michael Oakley, Sheed and Ward - New York