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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





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