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).
In a day and age and possibly a society in which most people feel it is their “right” to express their opinions, offer their unsolicited advice, and carry on the most private of conversations on their cell phones wherever they are no matter who might overhear, it is perhaps easy to see that it would be humbling to keep our mouths shut.
How much sin involves talking! Jesus said it is not what goes into a person that defiles them but what comes out of their mouths. Presidential hopefuls distance themselves from their churches because of what has come out of the mouths of their pastors. And it is not just the one who speaks who may sin, but those of us who hear.
I love this that “the talkative person is not stable on the earth.” I’d love a line by line commentary on the Psalms sometimes to tell me where these ideas come from.
Please note: in case you are confused by the reference to Ps 139, by the time Benedict wrote, the Vulgate version of the Bible was in use and it numbers the Psalms differently than the Hebrew Scriptures. If you use a Roman Catholic translation, the Psalms will match what Benedict quotes. If you use any of the Protestant translations, those follow the Hebrew Scriptures.