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Anastasios of Sinai - Various Narrations

St. John of Sinai -
Step 11 On Talkativeness and Silence

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St. John of Sinai Step 11
On Talkativeness and Silence
Newly translated from the Greek

2. Talkativeness is a seat of vainglory, upon which it displays itself and proclaims its own fame.

3. Silence in knowledge is the mother of prayer, a recall from captivity, a tower of protection, an overseeing of thoughts, a watch of combats, a binding of mourning, a friend of tears, an energetic remembrance of death, a depicter of perdition, ...of outspokenness an adversary, of stillness a spouse, an opponent of the love of teaching, a multiplying of knowledge, a creator of contemplative insight, hidden progress, secret ascent.

4. One who knows his faults has controlled his tongue, but the talkative has not known himself deeply as he should.
The friend of silence draws near to God and conversing secretly is illuminated by God. The silence of Jesus turned Pilate to respect. A man of stillness brings to condemnation the voice of empty-glory.

5. Having spoken, Peter wept bitterly. He forget the one who said, "I said I would guard my way, that I might not sin with my tongue.' and another who said, "Better to fall from a height to the earth than from a slip of the tongue."

6. I do not wish to write much about this, for all that the passions urge me on. But I heard once concerning stillness that talkativeness arises from one of these causes. Either from a disordered, dissolute and evil habit - since the tongue is a member of the body like any other and thus needs training to develop skill - or from vanity and empty-glory, or out of gluttony. For this reason, often when we tighten the belly with some strictness we gain some control of the tongue.

7. He who rememberers his departure cuts back on chatter. And one formed in spiritual mourning destroys chatter as with fire.

8. The lover of stillness closes firmly his mouth, but the one who enjoys going out is driven from his cell by the passions.

9. He who knows the scent of the fire from on high flees from the gathering of humanity as the bee from smoke. For as the smoke oppresses the one, so human gatherings oppose the other.

10 Few indeed can hold water without a dike; Fewer can take control of the mouth. This is the eleventh step. Whoever has conquered it has cut off a multitude of evils in a single stroke.

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