May 22

A single good word made the thief pure and holy, despite all his previous crimes, and brought him into paradise (Luke 23:42-43). A single ill-advised word prevented Moses from entering the promised land (Numbers 20:12). We should not suppose then, that garrulity is only a minor disease. Lovers of slander and gossip shut themselves out from the kingdom of heaven. A chatterbox may meet with success in this world but he will not do so in the next. There he will trip and fall; ‘evil will hunt him down and destroy him’ (Psalm 140:11 LLX). It has been well said: ‘Better to slip on the ground than to slip with your tongue’ (Ecclus.20:18). We should believe James the apostle when he writes: ‘Let every man be swift to hear and slow to speak.’ (James 1:19).

-St John of Karpathos

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