"All too often we speak only to remind the universe around us, which has carelessly forgotten for a second that we are its center, of a whole bevy of falsehoods: I am the cutest, smartest, or wittiest, I have the solution to all of this. What folly on the part of the entire cosmos to forget our importance! Better speak to clear the matter up..."
Now, here is something I can latch on to! I love to talk about my favorite subject: Me! Luckily I have two friends at work blessed with the same trait - it is wonderful how often we remind each other of our "humility" by saying something along the lines of "that was a great story, but it couldn't have been true, only I can do something that wonderful" (or horrible or stupid or forgetful). Great to have a wonderful group of friends, but even better to be reminded that next time I can simply listen and care.
If you wish, here is the whole entry, which also has another wonderful nugget attributed to one of the Desert Fathers about how monks spend the day...
February 6, June 7, October 7
Chapter 7: On Humility
The ninth degree of humility is that a monk restrain his tongue and keep silence, not speaking until he is questioned. For the Scripture shows that "in much speaking there is no escape from sin" (Prov. 10:19) and that "the talkative man is not stable on the earth" (Ps. 139:12).
OK, if you are a parent, you cannot speak to your children only when they question you. The therapy bills in later years would be astronomical. There are many situations in a Benedictine life lived in the world, among non-monastics, where this has to be altered, but its kernel of truth must be discovered and maintained.
WHY do we talk needlessly? Quite often it is nothing more than a trick to change the reality around us. We are bored, or we feel we are not getting enough attention or we think the mood too heavy, so we speak to change whatever annoys us at the moment. I should know. I am infamous for creating my own entertainment when things seem dull to me. That's not always a great idea...
Some tough moments, some difficult stuff are meant to be endured. They are part of our necessary learning and growth. Ever notice how we assess a child's maturity by its ability to be quiet and non- fidgety in surroundings (like Church!) that do not spoon feed its attention span? Well, the same is true of us at every stage. We do ourselves harm if we defuse every single tense moment with a word or two. We cheat ourselves.
All too often we speak only to remind the universe around us, which has carelessly forgotten for a second that we are its center, of a whole bevy of falsehoods: I am the cutest, smartest, or wittiest, I have the solution to all of this. What folly on the part of the entire cosmos to forget our importance! Better speak to clear the matter up...
Those who know me are thinking: "HE wrote THIS?!?" Yes, alas, I am guilty of all I wrote. Three times a year the Holy Rule reminds me of that and each time I am aware that I need to work on it. Thanks be to God, the Rule IS read three times a year: usually by the time the next reading comes up, my interest has flagged and I have to start over. As for the part about the talkative not being "stable on the earth," well, there have been times in the last 17 years when God had to nail my feet to the floor to keep me faithful and I am not dead yet... I have not always been His most willing pupil, but oh, is He ever patient! And infinitely merciful!
But, as one Desert Father said, that's what we do all day in monasteries: "We fall down and we get up."
Love and prayers,