“There is practically no society or gathering in which people do not denigrate others who are absent, discharging their critical zeal upon them. Backbiting is a common, vulgar evil, and a horrible, deadly one.”
Sins of the Tongue, the source of this quote, is a little book written by a French priest in 1877. In it, Fr. Belet addresses one of the worst sins ever to trouble humanity, and he does it with a frank combination of erudition and unsparing truth.
“Then what is a wise man to do?” Belet asks, after describing eight types of backbiting and their damaging effects.
“He listens and holds words in his mouth when they try to fly out. As long as he keeps them in his throat, he can subject them to reason and good sense; but once they slip out, there is no way to make them return: they run, they fly, they go on an endless journey.”
Grant us the grace to hold our words in our mouth when they try to fly out. May we be delivered from the “endless journeys” of words we ought to have kept to ourselves.
This post is part of a series (see A Lenten Invitation from a Babbling Brook: Focus on Speech and Silence). To receive new installments, you’re invited to “Follow SparrowFare by Email” by placing your email address in the box in the right sidebar (mobile users will find it below). We’d love to have you join us in sharing the quotes that speak to you.