Saints' Quotes

holy quotations for purification of the soul


for reflection and meditation


One Hundred and Four Texts

'I am now thirty years praying daily that my Lord Jesus may preserve me from saying an idle word, and yet I am always relapsing.'

St. Sisoes

'No passion is worse than an uncontrolled tongue, because it is the mother of all the passions.'

St. Agathon

'If the soul keeps far away from all discourse in words, from all disorder and human disturbance, the Spirit of God will come in to her and she who was barren will be fruitful.'

St. Poemen

'Only spiritual conversation is beneficial; it is better to preserve stillness than to indulge in any other kind.'

St. Thalassios the Libyan

'I am seeking a man to speak to, and I do not find one.'

St. Sisoes

'Whether we think, speak or act in a good or an evil manner depends upon whether we cleave inwardly to virtue or to vice.'

St. Thalassios the Libyan

'It is surprising that most Christians look upon decorum and politeness as merely human and worldly qualities and do not think of raising their minds to any higher views by considering them as virtues that have reference to God, to their neighbor, and to themselves. This illustrates very well how little true Christianity is found in the world and how few among those who live in the world are guided by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Still, it is this Spirit alone which ought to inspire all our actions, making them holy and agreeable to God.'

St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle

'Hast thou seen a man hasty to speak? folly is rather to be looked for, than his amendment.'

Proverbs 29:20

'Go and learn neither to be moved by abuse nor by flattery. If you die to the world and to yourself, you will begin to live to Christ.'

St. Macarius

'You have tried my heart, You have visited me in the night-season; You have proved me, and hast not found iniquity in me, so that my mouth shall not speak of the works of men.'

Psalm 17:3-4

'Beware of much speaking, for it banishes from the soul the holy thoughts and recollection with God.'

St. Dorotheus

'Let no one offend by too loud a voice.'

St. Ambrose

'A judge gives sentence more effectually speaking deliberately and calmly than if he be impetuous and passionate (for in the latter case he punishes not so much the actual faults before him, but what they appear to him to be);'

St. Francis de Sales

'It is difficult to treat those who suffer from chronic diseases. For how can you explain the value of health to people who have never enjoyed it, but have been sickly from birth? Because this is their customary state, they regard it as a misfortune of nature, and even as perfectly normal. It is useless to offer advice to those who have no intention of taking it, but continue regardless on the downward path.'

St. Neilos the Ascetic

'The mouth of a humble man speaks the truth; but he who speaks against the truth is like the servant who struck the Lord on the face.' (cf. Mark 14:65)

St. Mark the Ascetic

'Speak not in the ears of the unwise: because they will despise the doctrine of thy speech.'

Proverbs 23:9

'Blessed the one who loves good and fair words and hates base and destructive speech, because he will not become a prisoner of the Evil One.'

St. Ephrem of Syria

'A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.'

Ecclesiastes 3:7

'Speak not any thing rashly, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter a word before God. For God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. Dreams follow many cares: and in many words shall be found folly. If thou hast vowed any thing to God, defer not to pay it: for an unfaithful and foolish promise displeaseth him: but whatsoever thou hast vowed, pay it. And it is much better not to vow, than after a vow not to perform the things promised. Give not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin: and say not before the angel: There is no providence: lest God be angry at thy words, and destroy all the works of thy hands. Where there are many dreams, there are many vanities, and words without number: but do thou fear God.'

Ecclesiastes 5:1-6

'Blessed Francis Patrizi, who had the greatest devotion to the "Hail Mary" used to recite five hundred a day. Mary announced the hour of his death to him, and he died as a saint. After forty years, a beautiful lily grew out of his mouth, and on each of the leaves was written the "Hail Mary" in letters of gold. This lily was afterwards taken to France.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Thy mouth is the mouth of Christ; therefore thou mayest not -- I speak not of detractions, nor of lies -- thou mayest not open for idle speeches that mouth which should be reserved only for the praises of God and the edification of thy neighbour.'

St. Anselm of Canterbury

'Blessed the one who loves truth continually and has not lent his mouth as an instrument of impiety by lying, for he fears the commandment about idle speech.'

St. Ephrem of Syria

'Why do you compel me to speak unnecessarily?'

St. Sisoes

'Peter, having said a word, lamented it bitterly, because he forgot him who said: "I said, I will take heed in my ways lest I sin with my tongue." and the other who said: "A fall from a height to the ground is better than a slip with the tongue."'

St. John Climacus

'Illustrate thy face upon thy servant, save me in thy mercy.

Let me not be confounded, O Lord, because I have invocated thee.

Let the wicked be ashamed, and be brought down to hell. Let deceitful lips be made mute. Which speak iniquity against the just, in pride and abuse.

O how great is the multitude of thy sweetness, O Lord, which thou hast hid for them that fear thee! Thou hast perfected it for them that hope in thee, in the sight of the children of men.

Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy face, from the disturbance of men. Thou shalt protect them in thy tabernacle from the contradiction of tongues.

Blessed be the Lord, for he hath shewn his wonderful mercy to me in a walled city. But I said in the excess of my mind: I am cast away from the sight of thine eyes. Therefore thou hast heard the voice of my prayer, whiles I cried to thee.

O love the Lord, all ye his Saints: for the Lord will require truth, and will repay them abundantly that act proudly. Do ye manfully, and let your heart take courage, all ye that hope in the Lord.'

Psalm 30:17-25

'Exile means that a man should control his mouth.'

St. Sisoes

'Before a stranger do no matter of counsel: for thou knowest not what he will bring forth. Open not thy heart to every man: lest he repay thee with an evil turn, and speak reproachfully to thee.'

Ecclesiasticus 8:21-22

'Let it be your care always to speak well of all. Speak of others as you would wish to be spoken of by others. With regard to the absent, observe the excellent rule of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi: "Never to utter in their absence what you would not say in their presence."'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity: Thou wilt destroy all that speak a lie. The bloody and the deceitful man the Lord will abhor. . .

For there is no truth in their mouth; their heart is vain.

Their throat is an open sepulchre: they dealt deceitfully with their tongues: judge them, O God. Let them fall from their devices: according to the multitude of their wickedness cast them out: for they have provoked thee, O Lord.'

Psalm 5:7,10-11

'He who gives way to lying does so under the pretext of prudence, and he often regards what is the destruction of his soul as an act of righteousness. The inventor of lies makes out that he is an imitator of Rahab, and says that by his own destruction, he is effecting the salvation of others.'

St. John Climacus

'Son of man, I have made thee a watchman to the house of Israel: and thou shalt hear the word out of my mouth, and shalt tell it them from me. If, when I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely die: thou declare it not to him, nor speak to him, that he may be converted from his wicked way, and live: the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand. But if thou give warning to the wicked, and he be not converted from his wickedness, and from his evil way: he indeed shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul. Moreover if the just man shall turn away from his justice, and shall commit iniquity: I will lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die, because thou hast not given him warning: he shall die in his sin, and his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: but I will require his blood at thy hand.

But if thou warn the just man, that the just may not sin, and he doth not sin: living he shall live, because thou hast warned him, and thou hast delivered thy soul.'

Ezechiel 3:17-21

'As coals to burning coals, and wood to fire, so an angry man stirreth up brawls. The words of the whisperer as it were simple, and the same come to the inmost parts of the belly. Swelling lips joined with a corrupt heart, are like an earthen vessel adorned with silver dross. An enemy is known by his lips, when in his heart he entertaineth deceit.

When he shall speak low, trust him not: because there are seven mischiefs in his heart.

He that covereth hatred fraudulently, his malice shall be revealed in the Council. He that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it: and he that rolleth a stone, it shall return to him. A deceitful tongue loveth not truth: and a slippery mouth worketh ruin.'

Proverbs 26:21-28

'Oh! how frightful the account which tale-bearers must render to God! The sowers of discord are objects of abomination in his sight. Six things there are that the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth. The seventh is the man that soweth discord among brethren!'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Talkativeness is the throne of vainglory, on which it loves to show itself and make a display. talkativeness is a sign of ignorance, a door to slander, an inducement to jesting, a servant of falsehood, the ruin of compunction, a creator and summoner of despondency, a precursor of sleep, the dissipation of recollection, the abolition of watchfulness, the cooling of ardour, the darkening of prayer.'

St. John Climacus

'And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures?'

Luke 24:32

'And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but seducing his own heart, this man's religion is vain.'

James 1:26

'But now lay you also all away: anger, indignation, malice, blasphemy, filthy talk out of your mouth.'

Colossians 3:8

'You must abstain from certain jests and jocose remarks on the real and known defects of others; for such jokes offend the persons to whom they are applied.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'You must never utter a word of self-praise; when you are praised by others, you must raise your heart to God, and change the subject of conversation; and when you are contradicted or ridiculed, you must not be angry. Whenever the companions of St. John Francis Regis made him the subject of their jests at recreation, he endeavored with great good-humor to keep up the conversation, that, by being the object of their laughter, he might contribute to their amusement.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'You must observe modesty and moderation in laughter. St. Gregory relates, that the Mother of God appeared once to a devout virgin called Musa, and told her that, if she wished to please her, she must restrain immoderate laughter.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Never forget that souls are poisoned through the ear as much as bodies through the mouth.'

St. Francis de Sales

'All that aspire to perfection should avoid excessive laughter. Moderate laughter, which shows the serenity of the soul, is neither a violation of decorum nor opposed to devotion.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Beware that thou be not deceived into folly, and be humbled.

'Be not lowly in thy wisdom, lest being humbled thou be deceived into folly. If thou be invited by one that is mightier, withdraw thyself: for so he will invite thee the more. Be not troublesome to him, lest thou be put back: and keep not far from him, lest thou be forgotten. Affect not to speak with him as an equal: and believe not his many words: for by much talk he will sift thee, and smiling will examine thee concerning thy secrets. His cruel mind will lay up thy words: and he will not spare to do thee hurt, and to cast thee into prison.

Take heed to thyself, and attend diligently to what thou hearest: for thou walkest in danger of thy ruin. When thou hearest those things, see as it were in sleep, and thou shalt awake. Love God all thy life, and call upon him for thy salvation. Every beast loveth its like: so also every man him that is nearest to himself. All flesh shall consort with the like to itself, and every man shall associate himself to his like.

If the wolf shall at any time have fellowship with the lamb, so the sinner with the just. What fellowship hath a holy man with a dog, or what part hath the rich with the poor?'

Ecclesiasticus 13:10-22

'Besides, the Holy Ghost tells us that in speaking too much we shall not fail to commit some fault. "In multitude of words they shall not want sin." While they speak and prolong conversation without necessity, certain persons think that they are not guilty of any defect; but if they carefully examine themselves they will find some fault against modesty, of detraction, of curiosity, or at least of superfluous words.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'The signs that accompany those who wish to submit to the Logos of God and who bring forth good fruit are: sighing, weeping, sorrow, stillness, shaking of the head, prayer, silence, persistence, bitter grief, tribulation of heart arising from religious devotion. In addition, their actions manifest vigilance, fasting, self-control, gentleness, forbearance, unceasing prayer, study of the divine Scriptures, faith, humility, brotherly affection, submission, rigorous toil, hardship, love, kindliness, courtesy and-the sum of all-light, which is the Lord.

The signs that accompany those who are not producing the fruit of life are listlessness, day-dreaming, curiosity, lack of attention, grumbling, instability; and in their actions they manifest gluttony, anger, wrath, back-biting, conceit, untimely talk, unbelief, disorderliness, forgetful-ness, unrest, sordid greed, avarice, envy, factiousness, contempt, garrulity, senseless laughter, willfulness and - the sum of all - darkness, which is Satan.'

St. Symeon Metaphrastes

'Endeavor also to avoid as much as possible all disputes. Sometimes trifles give occasion to arguments that end in disputes and injurious language. There are some who violate charity by proposing, through the spirit of contradiction, certain topics of debate which give rise to useless disputation. Strive not, says the Wise Man, with a matter which doth not concern thee.

But you will say that in every debate you defend the right side of the question, and that you cannot listen in silence to assertions utterly destitute of foundation. I answer in the words of Cardinal Bellarmine: "That an ounce of charity is more valuable than a hundred car loads of reason."

In all debates, but particularly when the subject is of little importance, give your opinion if you wish to join in the conversation; but be careful never to defend it with obstinacy. It is better to give up your own opinion than to enter into a useless and perhaps dangerous controversy.

Blessed Egidius used to say that in such controversies to submit is to conquer; because submission evinces a superiority in virtue and preserves peace. Surely the preservation of peace is of far greater importance than the empty honor of a wordy victory.

Hence St. Ephrem used to say that to maintain peace he always yielded to his adversary in disputation. Hence, also, St. Joseph Calasanctius advises "all who desire peace never to contradict any one."'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'We should note how clearly the Apostle describes the causes of listlessness. Those who do not work he calls unruly, expressing a multiplicity of faults in this one word.

For the unruly man, is lacking in reverence, impulsive in speech, quick, to abuse, and so unfit for stillness. He is a slave to listlessness.

Paul therefore tells us to avoid such a person, that is, to isolate ourselves from him as from a plague. With the words "and not according to the tradition which you have received from us" he makes it clear that they are arrogant and that they destroy the apostolic traditions. Again he says: "nor did we eat any man's bread as a free gift; but we toiled strenuously night and day." The teacher of the nations, the herald of the Gospel, who was raised to the third heaven, who says that the Lord ordained that 'those who preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel' (1Cor. 9:14) - this same man works night and day "so that we might not be a burden to any of you." What then can be said of us, who are listless about our work and physically lazy - we who have not been entrusted with the proclamation of the Gospel or the care of the churches, but merely with looking after our own soul? Next Paul shows more clearly the harm born of laziness by adding: "not working at all, but simply being busybodies;" for from laziness comes inquisitiveness, and from inquisitiveness, unruliness, and from unruliness, every kind of evil. He provides a remedy, however, with the words: "Now we instruct such people . . . to work quietly and to eat their own bread." But with even greater emphasis, he says: "if anyone refuses to work, he should have nothing to eat."'

St. John Cassian

'If you love charity, endeavor to be affable and meek to all. Meekness is the characteristic virtue of the lamb; it is the beloved virtue of Jesus Christ, who through a love of meeknes took the appellation of Lamb.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'He who despises understanding and boasts of ignorance is unlearned not only in speech but also in knowledge (cf. 2 Cor. 11:6). Just as wisdom in speech is one thing and sound judgment another, so lack of learning in speech is one thing and folly another. Ignorance of words will do no harm to the truly devout, nor will wisdom in speaking harm the humble.'

St. Mark the Ascetic

'He who has become aware of his sins has controlled his tongue, but a talkative person has not yet come to know himself as he should.'

St. John Climacus

'They who seek after piety, must take care not to pour forth their souls in laughter.'

St. Basil the Great

'Guard your speech from boasting and your thoughts from presumption; otherwise you may be abandoned by God and fall into sin. For man cannot do anything good without the help of God, who sees everything.'

St. Mark the Ascetic

'By silence we learn to consider well what we shall afterwards say.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'. . . if I trusted my own courage, if I followed my own inclination, and if I did not fear to annoy my sisters, I would never speak of anything else but love; and I assure you, I never open my mouth without desiring to say, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself.'

St. Jane Frances de Chantal

'The Abbot John used to say: "Let him who wishes to restrain the tongue shut his ears by mortifying the curiosity of hearing news."'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment.'

Matthew 12:36

'To blaspheme no man, not to be litigious, but modest: showing all mildness toward all men.'

Titus 3:2

'I beseech thee, Lord, I am not eloquent from yesterday and the day before: and since thou hast spoken to thy servant, I have more impediment & slowness of tongue.

Our Lord said to him: Who made the mouth of man? or who framed the dumb and deaf, the seeing and the blind? did not I? go on therefore, and I will be in thy mouth: & will teach thee what thou shalt Speak.'

Exodus 4:10-12

'And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man is wont to speak to his friend.'

Exodus 33:11

'And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Bring forth the blasphemer without the camp, and let them that heard him, put their hands upon his head, and let all the people stone him. And thou shalt speak to the children of Israel: the man that curseth his God, shall bear his sin:

And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, dying let him die: all the multitude shall stone him, whether he be a native or a stranger.

He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, dying let him die.'

Leviticus 24:13-16

'Hear my words: if there be among you a prophet of the Lord, I will appear to him in a vision, or I will speak to him in a dream. But it is not so with my servant Moses a who is most faithful in all my house: For I speak to him mouth to mouth: and plainly, and not by riddles and figures doth he see the Lord.

Why then were you not afraid to speak ill of my servant Moses?'

Numbers 12:6-8

'I will raise them up a prophet out of the midst of their brethren like to thee: and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. And he that will not hear his words, which he shall speak in my name, I will be the revenger. But the prophet, who being corrupted with pride, shall speak in my name things that I did not command him to say, or in the name of strange gods, shall be slain.

And if in silent thought thou answer: How shall I know the word that the Lord hath not spoken? Thou shalt have this sign: Whatsoever that same prophet foretelleth in the name of the Lord, and it cometh not to pass: that thing the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath forged it by the pride of his mind: and therefore thou shalt not fear him.'

Deuteronomy 18:18-22

'The true servant of Jesus Christ bears all things; she labors much, and speaks little.'

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi

'Worldlings shun solitude, and with good reason; for in solitude they feel more acutely the remorse of conscience, and therefore they go in search of the conversations and tumults of the world, that the noise of these occupations may stifle the stings of remorse.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'If you love God heartily, my child, you will often speak of Him among your relations, household and familiar friends, and that because "the mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment." . . . we are told that when St. Francis uttered the Name of the Lord, he seemed to feel the sweetness lingering on his lips, and could not let it go. But always remember, when you speak of God, that He is God; and speak reverently and with devotion, - not affectedly or as if you were preaching, but with a spirit of meekness, love, and humility; dropping honey from your lips (like the Bride in the Canticles) in devout and pious words, as you speak to one or another around, in your secret heart the while asking God to let this soft heavenly dew sink into their minds as they hearken. And remember very specially always to fulfill this angelic task meekly and lovingly. . . It is wonderful how attractive a gentle, pleasant manner is, and how much it wins hearts.'

St. Francis de Sales

'St. Frances of Rome received a buffet from an angel because she did not change the conversation of certain ladies who spoke of worldly vanities.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Speak a great deal with God, and little with men.'

St. Ephrem

'A dispersed and dissipated intellect given to frivolous talk and foul language produces many vices and sins. Laughter and loose, immodest speech also lead to sin.'

St. John Damascene

'Behold the excellent rule of St. John Chrysostom: "Then only should we speak when it is more useful to speak than to be silent." a Hence the saint gives the following advice: "Either remain silent, or say what is more profitable than silence." Oh! happy he who at death can say what the monk Pambo said: "That he did not remember to have ever uttered a word which he was sorry for having spoken." St. Arsenius used to say that he often repented of having spoken, but never of having remained silent.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. We are full of words but empty of actions, and therefore are cursed by the Lord, since he himself cursed the fig tree when he found no fruit but only leaves.

It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions. But the apostles "spoke as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech." Happy the man whose words issue from the Holy Spirit and not from himself!

We should speak, then, as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech. Our humble and sincere request to the Spirit for ourselves should be that we may bring the day of Pentecost to fulfillment, insofar as he infuses us with his grace, by using our bodily senses in a perfect manner by keeping the commandments. Likewise we shall request that we may be filled with a keen sense of sorrow and with fiery tongues for confessing the faith so our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendor of the saints and to look upon the triune God.'

St. Anthony of Padua

'Whenever you have to speak, be careful, in conformity with the advice of the Holy Ghost, Make a balance for thy words, (Ecclus. xxviii. 29) to examine what you ought to say. Make a balance for your words that you may weigh them before you give expression to them. Hence St. Bernard says that "before your words come to the tongue, let them pass twice under the file of examination," that you may suppress what you should not utter. The same was said by St. Francis de Sales in other words, namely, that to speak without sin every one should keep a lock on his lips, that in opening his mouth to speak he might reflect well on what he wishes to say.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Eyes, ears, and mouth are the doors of the soul.'

St. Francis de Sales

'I have heard people slandering, and I have rebuked them. And these doers of evil replied in self-defense that they were doing so out of love and care for the person whom they were slandering. I said to them: "Stop that kind of love, otherwise you will be condemning as a liar him who said: 'Him that privily talked against his neighbor, did I drive away.' If you say you love, then pray secretly, and do not mock the man. For this is the kind of love that is acceptable to the Lord."'

St. John Climacus

'Let your speech be always in grace seasoned with salt: that you may know how you ought to answer every man.'

Colossians 4:6

'From filthy speaking we ourselves must entirely abstain, and stop the mouths of those who practise it by stern looks and averting the face, and by what we call making a mock of one: often also by a harsher mode of speech. "For what proceedeth out of the mouth," He says, "defileth a man," -- shows him to be unclean, and heathenish, and untrained, and licentious, and not select, and proper, and honourable, and temperate.'

St. Clement of Alexandria

'I had treated you with contempt, Demetrian, as you railed with sacrilegious mouth against God, who is one and true, and frequently cried out with impious words, thinking it more fitting and better to ignore with silence the ignorance of a man in error than to provoke with speech the fury of a man in madness. And I did not do this without the authority of the divine teaching, since it is written: "Do not say anything in the ears of the foolish, lest when he hears he may mock your wise words," and again: "Do not answer the foolish according to his folly, lest you become like him," and let us be admonished to keep within our own conscience what is holy, and not to expose it to be trampled upon by swine and dogs, for the Lord speaks saying: "Do not give that which is holy to the dogs, and do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet." For when you came to me often rather with an eagerness to contradict than with a wish to learn, and you preferred impudently to insist on your own views, shouting with noisy words, rather than to listen patiently to our own, it seemed foolish to contend with you, since it would be an easier and lighter task to restrain the angry waves of a turbulent sea by shouting than to check your madness by arguments. Surely it is a futile labor and of no effect to offer light to someone blind, words to a deaf person, and wisdom to a brute, since a brute cannot understand, and a blind person cannot admit light, and one deaf cannot hear.'

St. Cyprian of Carthage

'Jests that offend a neighbor are opposed to charity, and to the words of Jesus Christ: All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them. You certainly would not like to be made an object of derision and of mockery before your companions. Abstain then from casting ridicule on others.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'My tongue, while I am speaking of my neighbor, shall be in my mouth like a knife in the hand of a surgeon that would cut between the sinews and tendons. The blow I shall give shall be neither more nor less than the truth.'

St. Francis de Sales

'Germanos then asked: "How does it happen that even against our will many ideas and wicked thoughts trouble us, entering by stealth and undetected to steal our attention? Not only are we unable to prevent them from entering, but it is extremely difficult even to recognize them. Is it possible for the mind to be completely free of them and not be troubled by them at all?"

Abba Moses replied: "It is impossible for the mind not to be troubled by these thoughts. But if we exert ourselves it is within our power either to accept them and give them our attention, or to expel them. Their coming is not within our power to control, but their expulsion is. The amending of our mind is also within the power of our choice and effort. When we meditate wisely and: continually on the law of God, study psalms and canticles, engage-in fasting and vigils, and always bear in mind what is to come -- the kingdom of heaven, the Gehenna of fire and all God's works -- our wicked thoughts diminish and find no place. But when we devote our time to worldly concerns and to matters of the flesh, to pointless and useless conversation, then these base thoughts multiply in us.

Just as it is impossible to stop a watermill from turning, although the miller has power to choose between grinding either wheat or tares, so it is impossible to stop our mind, which is ever-moving, from having thoughts, although it is within our power to feed it either with spiritual meditation or with worldly concerns."'

St. John Cassian

'When the door of the steam baths is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in its desire to say many things, dissipates its remembrance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good. Thereafter the intellect, though lacking appropriate ideas, pours out a welter of confused thoughts to anyone it meets, as it no longer has the Holy Spirit to keep its understanding free from fantasy. Ideas of value always shun verbosity, being foreign to confusion and fantasy. Timely silence, then, is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.'

St. Diadochos of Photiki

'A vain question deserves nothing but silence. So learn to be silent for a time; you will edify your brethren and silence will teach you to speak when the hour is come.'

St. Vincent Ferrer

'But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints: Or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose; but rather giving of thanks.

For know you this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no man deceive you with vain words.

For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief. Be ye not therefore partakers with them.'

Ephesians 5:3-7

'And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body, and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell.

For every nature of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of the rest, is tamed, and hath been tamed, by the nature of man: But the tongue no man can tame, an unquiet evil, full of deadly poison. By it we bless God and the Father: and by it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing.

My brethren, these things ought not so to be.'

James 3:6-10

'For it is written: As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. Therefore every one of us shall render account to God for himself.'

Romans 14:11-12

'But youthful desires flee: and pursue justice, faith, charity, and peace with them that invocate our Lord from a pure heart.

And foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they engender brawls.

But the servant of our Lord must not wrangle: but be mild toward all men, apt to teach, patient, with modesty admonishing them that resist the truth: lest sometime God give them repentance to know the truth: And they recover themselves from the snares of the devil, of whom they are held captive at his will.'

2 Timothy 1:22-26

'He that keepeth his mouth, keepeth his soul: but he that hath no guard on his speech shall meet with evils.'

Proverbs 13:3

'A soft answer breaketh anger: and a hard word raiseth up fury.

The tongue of the wise adorneth knowledge: the mouth of fools boileth forth folly.

In every place the eyes of our Lord behold the good and the evil.

A peaceable tongue is a tree of life: but that which is immoderate, shall break the spirit.

A fool scorneth the discipline of his father: but he that regardeth reprehensions, shall become more prudent.'

Proverbs 15:1-5

'The pestilent man loveth not him, that rebuketh him: nor goeth to the wise.'

Proverbs 15:12

'A man rejoiceth in the sentence of his mouth: And a word in due time is best.'

Proverbs 15:23

'It pertaineth to man to prepare the heart: and to our Lord to govern the tongue. All the ways of man are open to his eyes: our Lord is the weigher of spirits.

Lay open thy works to the Lord: and thy thoughts shall be directed.'

Proverbs 16:1-3

'I will exalt thee my God the king: and I will bless thy name forever, and forever and ever.
Every day will I bless thee: and will praise thy name forever, and forever and ever.
Great is our Lord and exceeding laudable, and of his greatness there is no end.
Generation and generation shall praise thy works: and they shall pronounce thy power.
They shall speak the magnificence of the Glory of thy holiness: and shall tell thy marvelous works.
And they shall tell the force of thy terrible things: and shall declare thy greatness:
They shall utter the memory of the abundance of thy sweetness: and in thy justice they shall rejoice.
Our Lord is pitiful and merciful: patient and very merciful.
Our Lord is sweet to all: and his commiserations are over all his works.
Let all thy works O Lord confess to thee: and let thy Saints bless thee.
They shall tell the Glory of thy kingdom: and shall speak thy might.
That they may make thy might known to the children of men: and the Glory of the magnificence of thy kingdom.
Thy kingdom is a kingdom of all worlds: and thy dominion in all generation and generation.
Our Lord is faithful in all his words: and holy in all his works.
Our Lord lifteth up all that fall: and setteth up all that are bruised.
The eyes of all hope in thee O Lord: and thou givest their meat in time convenient.
Thou openest thy hand: and fillest every living creature with blessing.
Our Lord is just in all his ways: and holy in all his works.
Our Lord is near to all that invocate him: to all that invocate him in truth.
He will do the will of them that fear him, and will hear their prayer; and save them.
Our Lord keepeth all that love him: and he will destroy all sinners.
My mouth shall speak the praise of our Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name forever, and forever and Ever.'

Psalm 144

'Detract not the king, no not in thy thought; and speak not evil of the rich man in thy private chamber: because even the birds of the air will carry thy voice, and he that hath wings will tell what thou hast said.'

Ecclesiastes 10:20

'And refrain not to speak in the time of salvation. Hide not thy wisdom in her beauty. For by the tongue wisdom is discerned: and understanding, and knowledge, and learning by the word of the wise, and steadfastness in the works of justice. In nowise speak against the truth, but be ashamed of the lie of thy ignorance. '

Ecclesiasticus 4:28-30

'Be not hasty in thy tongue: and slack and remiss in thy works.'

Ecclesiasticus 4:34

'Strive not with a man that is full of tongue, and heap not wood upon his fire. Communicate not with an ignorant man, lest he speak ill of thy family.'

Ecclesiasticus 8:4-5

'Praise is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner: For wisdom came forth from God: for praise shall be with the wisdom of God, and shall abound in a faithful mouth, and the sovereign Lord will give praise unto it.'

Ecclesiasticus 15:8-9

'My son, in thy good deeds, make no complaint, and when thou givest any thing, add not grief by an evil word.

Shall not the dew assuage the heat? so also the good word is better than the gift. Lo, is not a word better than a gift? but both are with a justified man. A fool will upbraid bitterly: and a gift of one ill taught consumeth the eyes. Before judgment prepare thee justice, and learn before thou speak. Before sickness take a medicine, and before judgment examine thyself, and thou shalt find mercy in the sight of God.'

Ecclesiasticus 18:15-20

'Take no pleasure in riotous assemblies, be they ever so small: for their concertation is continual.'

Ecclesiasticus 18:32

'The slipping of a false tongue is as one that falleth on the pavement: so the fall of the wicked shall come speedily.

A man without grace is as a vain fable, it shall be continually in the mouth of the unwise. A parable coming out, of a fool's mouth shall be rejected: for he doth not speak it in due season.'

Ecclesiasticus 20:20-21

'If you want, or rather intend, to take the splinter out of another person, then do not hack at it with a stick instead of a lancet, for you will only drive it deeper. And this is a stick -- rude speech and rough gestures. And this is a lancet -- tempered instruction and patient reprimand. 'Reprove,' says the Apostle, 'rebuke, exhort,' but he did not say, 'beat.' And if even this is required, do it rarely, and not with your own hand.'

St. John Climacus

'Wisdom that is hid, and treasure that is not seen: what profit is there in them both? Better is he that hideth his folly, than the man that hideth his wisdom.'

Ecclesiasticus 20:32-33

'Young man, scarcely speak in thy own cause.

If thou be asked twice, let thy answer be short. In many things be as if thou wert ignorant, and hear in silence and withal seeking.'

Ecclesiasticus 32:10-12

'Speak, thou that art elder: for it becometh thee, to speak the first word with careful knowledge, and hinder not music.'

Ecclesiasticus 32:4

'The Father spoke one Word, which was His Son, and this Word He speaks always in eternal silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul.'

St. John of the Cross