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Lenten Meditation

St  Tikhon on idle talk.

St. Tikhon of Moscow addressed a widespread fault that is a prevalent in our day as it was in his....perhaps more so with social media...

We should not fail to take into account the fact that our words do not disappear in the air and vanish without a trace, but they are collected and preserved for the day of the terrible judgment, when we will be held accountable for every idle word; and by our words we will be either acquitted or condemned (cf. Matt. 12:36-37).

The holy fathers most often went into seclusion and isolated themselves from company for the time of Great Lent. Nothing, brethren, prevents us from secluding ourselves either, and spending in silence if not the whole fast, at least a few hours every day, devoting them to prayer, pious contemplation, introspection, and examination of one’s conscience.

And the fast as well, aside from seclusion, according to St. Gregory the Theologian, helps one to restrict his tongue. It is observed that our talkativeness arises often from gluttony and especially from drinking wine, which loosens our tongue without measure. To the contrary, the fast leads us to restriction of the tongue, and suppression of anger, slander, and lies, since it suppresses in us lusts which “set our tongue on fire” (James 3:6).

To succeed in restricting one’s tongue, it is also necessary, according to the words of the same St. Gregory, to ask God for help. This feat is hard for a person who is inattentive and inclined to sin. And if David, the son of Sirach, the venerable Ephrem the Syrian, and other holy men who were strong in spirit, asked God for help in this matter, then all the more is it necessary for us, the weak ones, to pray: “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips”.

1901 Homily in San Francisco on the 4th Sunday of LentInstructions and Teachings

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