Photo of a very silent forest on Molokai
In his book Spiritual Combat, Father Lorenzo Scupoli writes in detail on controlling one's speech. From the beginning of time, it is that small part of the body that causes the greatest harm when ill used. I have made a sort of Do's and Don't List from the counsel given by Dom Scupoli:
- Do not engage in lengthy conversation.
- Do not speak loudly.
- Do not speak in a dictatorial manner.
- Do not speak of yourself or of your doings.
- Do not speak of your family (unless it is absolutely necessary).
- DO speak of God, especially of His love and goodness.
- DO listen to others speak of Him.
- DO ponder well in your heart, the thoughts that enter into your mind, BEFORE speaking.
- DO think frequently about the evils and dangers of talkativeness.
- Do keep silence even when you may lawfully speak. ("provided that no prejudice arises from it to your neighbor or to yourself.)
- it is a safe stronghold in the spiritual battle and a sure pledge of victory.
- it is a friend of him who distrusts self and trusts in God.
- it is the guardian of the spirit of prayer and a wonderful help in the attainment of virtues.
"...to keep aloof from conversation will be more helpful, because, instead of men, you will have for your companions the angels, the saints, and God Himself..."
Spiritual Combat available at Sophia Press.