The Tongue

Having the gift of tongues is knowing how to transmit the knowledge of God — an invaluable resource for whoever is to be an apostle. —That is why I ask God Our Lord each day to grant it to every one of his sons and daughters.

Learn how to say No, without hurting people unnecessarily or having recourse to the kind of abrupt rejection which destroys charity.

—Remember that you are always in the presence of God!

Do you object to my repeating in the same way the same essential things without taking into account the latest fashionable trends? —Look, a straight line has been defined in the same way for centuries, because it is the clearest and briefest definition. Other definitions would be more obscure and complicated.

Acquire the habit of speaking about everyone and about everything they do in a friendly manner, especially when you are speaking of those who labour in God’s service.

Whenever that is not possible, keep quiet. Sharp or irritated comment as well may border on gossip or slander.

A young man who had just given himself more fully to God said: “What I need to do now is speak less, visit the sick and sleep on the floor.”

—Apply that to yourself.

One should speak about Christ’s priests only in order to praise them.

—I hope with all my heart that my brothers and I bear this in mind in our daily behaviour.

There are many sides to lying: reticence, intrigue, slander… But it is always the coward’s weapon.

You are wrong to let yourself be impressed by the first or the latest conversation!

Listen with respect and interest. Give due credit to people… but carefully ponder your judgement in the presence of God.

They spread slander and then make sure themselves that someone comes along immediately to tell you: “It is said that…” No doubt that is villainous, but don’t lose your peace; the tongue can do you no harm, if you work honestly. Consider how silly they are, how tactless, humanly speaking, and what a lack of loyalty they show towards their brothers — and especially towards God!

And don’t go and fall into slander yourself, through an ill-conceived idea of the right to reply. If you have to say anything, make use of fraternal correction as the Gospel advises us.

Don’t be worried by those contradictions and all that talk. It is true that we are working in a divine undertaking, but we are men… And it is natural that as we walk we raise dust along the road.

If anything bothers you or hurts you… make use of it for your purification and, if necessary, to straighten out your own behaviour.

Gossip is a very human thing, they say. —And I reply: we have to live in a divine manner.

The evil or flippant word of only one man can create a climate of opinion, and even make it fashionable to speak badly about somebody… Then that thin mist of slander rises from below, reaches a high level and perhaps condenses into black clouds.

—But when the man persecuted in this way is a soul of God, the clouds shower down a beneficial rain, come what may; and the Lord ensures that he is exalted by the very means with which they tried to humiliate or defame him.

You didn’t want to believe it, but you had to yield to the evidence, to your cost. Those statements you made simply and with a sound Catholic sense have been twisted maliciously by enemies of the faith.

It is true that “we have to be simple as doves… and wise as serpents.” Don’t talk at the wrong time or out of place.

Because you don’t know, or don’t want to know, how to imitate that man’s upright manner of acting, your secret envy makes you seek to ridicule him.

Speaking badly of others is the daughter of envy; and envy is where the sterile seek refuge.

So, now you are faced by sterility, examine the way you see things. If you carry on working and do not get annoyed at others who are also working and obtaining results, then the sterility of your effort will merely be an apparent one. In time you will gather the harvest.

Some people seem to think that when they are not causing harm or mortifying others they are at a loose end.

Sometimes I think backbiters are like men possessed by a lesser devil… —For the devil always insinuates himself and his evil spirit here, forever critical of God or God’s followers.

“Stupidities!”, you say looking down on them.

—Do you know them personally? You don’t? —Then, how can you speak of what you do not know?

This is how you should answer a backbiter: “I shall tell the person concerned” or “I shall speak to him about it”.

A contemporary author has written: “Going around gossiping is always inhuman; it reveals a person of mediocre quality; it is a sign of being uneducated; it shows a lack of refinement of feeling; it is unworthy of a Christian.”

You should always avoid complaining, criticising, gossiping… You must avoid absolutely anything that could bring discord among brothers.

Having a position of high authority, you would be imprudent to interpret the silence of those who listen to you as a sign of acquiescence. Ask yourself whether you allow them to make suggestions, or whether you take offence if they actually let you know what they think. —You must change your ways.

This has to be your attitude when faced by defamation. First, forgive everyone from the very beginning and with all your heart. —Then love. Never fall into a single uncharitable act. Always respond with love!

—But if your Mother the Church is being attacked, defend her courageously. Keep calm, but be firm. Have the strength not to give in, and prevent anyone fouling up or blocking the way ahead for Christian souls when they in their turn are eager to forgive and respond with charity to personal insults.

Someone who was tired of people gossiping said that he wished the smallest village were like the capital.

—He didn’t know, poor man, that it is the same there.

—For the love of God and your neighbour, don’t fall into such a small-town defect… It is so un-Christian. —It was said of the first followers of Christ: “See how they love one another.” Can this be said of you, and of me, at all times?

Criticisms of apostolic enterprises are usually of two kinds: the work is presented by some people as a most complicated structure; others deem it to be a comfortable and easy task.

In the end, such “objectivity” boils down to narrow-mindedness, with a good dose of idle chatter thrown in. —Don’t get annoyed, but ask them: “What is it that you do?”

You might not be able to expect understanding for the demands of your faith, but you do have to ask for respect.

Those people you heard speak ill of that loyal friend of God, will also speak ill of you when you decide to behave better.

Certain comments can hurt only those who consider themselves to be affected. That is why, once you are following the Lord with all your heart and soul, you can accept criticisms as purification, and as a goad to make you lengthen your stride.

The Most Holy Trinity has crowned Our Mother.

—God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, will ask us to render an account of every idle word. That is another reason for asking Holy Mary to teach us always to speak in the presence of the Lord.

References to Holy Scripture
References to Holy Scripture
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