Loose Words

 Some brothers were coming from Scetis to see Abba Anthony. When they were getting into a boat to go there, they

Monastery of Saint Bishoy, Wadi Natrun

found an old man who also wanted to go there.  The brothers did not know him.  They sat in the boat, occupied by turns with the words of the Fathers, Scripture and their manual work.  As for the old man, he remained silent.  When they arrived on shore they found that the old man was going to the cell of Abba Anthony too.  When they reached the place, Anthony said to them, ‘You found this old man a good companion for the journey?’ Then he said to the old man, ‘You have brought many good brethren with you, father.’ The old man said, ‘No doubt they are good, but they do not have a door to their house and anyone who wishes can enter the stable and loose the ass.’ He meant that the brethren said whatever came into their mouths.

—–Abba Anthony of Egypt

Quick and loose words are man’s worst enemy. Far too many times conflicts are started, feelings are hurt, and relationships are broken with a loose tongue. Abba Anthony was well aware of this pervasive fault of all men. In his wisdom he asks us to simply think before we speak, and refrain from saying all that we think. This “say all” mentality is the downfall of the shrewdest of men. There is goodness in all men, we are the image of God, but we must realize that the tongue, loose talk, gossip is the death of our goodness. Weigh your words, measure your tone, and seek that no corrupt communication may come from your mouth.

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