INSOLENCE OF THE TONGUE
Nothing is more cruel or savage than bitter
and idle conversations. The wounds they inflict are as
difficult to cure as they are so easy to cause. Excessive wit
from the mouth ordinarily stimulates passions and tempers, while a
conversation barbed with pleasantries are a source of many quarrels.
"Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth."
This is a profitable guard for our lips; do not let your heart
easily turn its attention to words which are base or words that
disturb the pursuit of peace.
Silence is great; and speech is also great.
But the wise man is he who controls both. One should be silent
when he is goaded by someone's foul speech. One should speak
out when peace must be pursued.
Thus, to speak and to keep silent, each
consists in holding to the proper measure of words. Just as it
is unpleasant to have the wicked talk too much, so it is harmful to
have the good always to keep silence. Therefore, when the need
arises, let us speak out words of justice. When justice needs
no defence, let us keep silent.
St. Valerian: Homilies