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Imitation of Christ Book Club – Wk 1 of 10

December 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

The Imitation of Christ Week 1
Catholic Spiritual Direction Book Club image
“Friendly” Conversation

Why are we so fond of speaking and conversing with one another, though we rarely return to our silence without some injury to our consciences? The reason why we enjoy talking is because we seek solace in chatting with one another, and desire to lighten our distracted hearts. Furthermore, we enjoy talking and thinking about the things we most want and desire, or those which we especially dislike.

But alas! It is often vain and to no purpose, for the consolation gained by talking greatly diminishes the internal consolation granted us by God. Therefore, we must watch and pray lest we spend our time in fruitless idleness.

If it is permitted and advisable to speak, then speak of those things that nourish the spiritual life. Negligence about our spiritual progress and yielding to bad habits are the reasons for our keeping so little control over our tongues. Godly conversation about spiritual matters very much helps spiritual advancement, especially when persons of like mind and heart are united in God. – The Imitation of Christ, p. 13

 

Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more!

 

Perhaps some of you are familiar with the song, Pick a Little,  from The Music Man, poking fun at the nastiness of gossiping women (If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth seeing the comparison between the women and pecking hens). While the song is very funny, sadly the reality of chatting women isn’t too far off. Just this past Sunday, my husband noted that he has a hard time talking with other dads after church because (like him) they’re all watching the kids, while their wives socialize. Notice I said “socialize,” not gossip, but we do have doughnuts after church for a reason. And there is a lot of enjoyable “chit-chat” going on.

Although I love the opportunity to chat with other moms, too often something slips out of my mouth that I regret. Oh, I wish I hadn't said that. Am I so worried about being interesting or funny or exciting (or “accepted”) that I say things I shouldn’t say, whether about my personal life, the situation we’re in or, heaven forbid, about someone else? Now I REALLY wish I hadn’t said that.

Proverbs 10:19 says “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but the prudent are restrained in speech.” Isn’t that the truth?! Well, I am certainly not lacking in transgression, I can tell you that! While I can edit my writing (the above sentences notwithstanding), I cannot edit my speech. Once it’s out there, it’s out there, and I can’t take it back. Whether the words are short, gossipy, thoughtless, critical, silly or just too personal, they are gone, out of my mouth and into someone else’s ears…sometimes a painful prospect.

Mind you, I am not declaring to the world that I have no self-control.  It just seems that many things in casual conversation are better left unsaid.  When I was young, I always admired the life of the party.  But as I grow older, I find myself drawn to those quiet souls, who seem so wise.  Of course, it’s possible that their wisdom is found solely in their silence. After all, Abraham Lincoln once said, “Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” But at the very least, keeping their mouths shut helps them avoid regrets.

So why do I sometimes feel like I’ve decorated my mouth with the broad side of my size nine foot? Thomas à Kempis (forevermore TK) is amazingly insightful when he says “…we enjoy talking and thinking about the things we most want and desire, or those which we especially dislike.” I’d never before thought about exactly what acquaintances discuss, but he nailed it.  Unfortunately, these topics lead nowhere positive. The former is self-centered and the latter is merely a means of complaining. No wonder I rarely leave one of those situations feeling better than I did when I walked in.

And yet, there are those conversations that truly nourish my spiritual life. These tend to take place with real friends, not mere acquaintances from church or other social networks. Friendships based on spiritual bonds can and do sanctify us. Whether by example or by steering conversations toward holy things, real friends are truly a gift from God.

Last week I had a rare opportunity to spend a few days with one of my dearest friends – one who has been a light in my life for over 13 years. She now lives 500 miles away, and our lives are much busier than they used to be. Conversation is not nearly as frequent as it was when we enjoyed nearly daily lunches and play-dates when our kids were little. However, our visit was a reminder to me that her light has not faded with time or distance. Regardless of their infrequency, our conversations never fail to draw me closer to our Lord. Isn’t that the test of true friendship?

Its so difficult to put into words the value of a true friend. But when I read Introduction to the Devout Life, I found that St. Francis de Sales had read my heart. On real friendship, he says, “Do you, my child, love every one with the pure love of charity, but have no friendship save with those whose intercourse is good and true, and the purer the bond which unites you so much higher will your friendship be. If your intercourse is based on science it is praiseworthy, still more if it arises from a participation in goodness, prudence, justice and the like; but if the bond of your mutual liking be charity, devotion and Christian perfection, God knows how very precious a friendship it is! Precious because it comes from God, because it tends to God, because God is the link that binds you, because it will last for ever in Him.”

Most of us have at least one real friend. May we all save our real conversation for this precious oasis that is true friendship – and may our conversations be such that they facilitate our spiritual advancement, lifting us ever closer to our eternal friend, who is Jesus Christ.

 

Discussion Questions:

1. What strategies do you use to ensure that you are charitable toward all, while being prudent in your speech?

2.  Open discussion: Feel free to comment on any topic from this past week's reading.

 

Reading Assignment:

Week 2: Book 1 Ch. 14-25

 

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

For More Information on the Book Club: http://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club

 

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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  • 090101

    I have been waiting for the perfect time to read The Imitation of Christ… which has been on my shelf, relegated over and over again to 2nd place behind whichever book piqued my interest that week. Thank you for this opportunity! – with a good study to go along with it, I am glad this book has waited so patiently for me. Thank you for this opportunity!

  • abandon56

    Thank you for this reflection Vicki. It really all does come to the fact that everything is between me and God. In the sense that as on pg. 15 the author states: “Do not boast …
    glory in God, Who gives all things and Who desires above everything to give Himself.”
    This tendency to seek consolation in others is a great light for me. “The little consolation you may receive from men is an obstacle to the genuine consolation you may receive from God.” This is very helpful. He puts everything in order, yes?

  • Renee Hitt

    I think the adage “think before you speak”sums it up. As a sales trainer, I encourage my staff to be customer focused. It is so easy for them to talk about their lives, so we try to learn to ask questions of the customer about their family, occupation, recreation and dreams. Tis works ain any social situation and of uses the attention on the other person and helps to build relationship

  • marygannon

    What a beautiful and insightful reflection! I will share this post with a few of my true friends. I’m encouraged to grow closer to God through my friendships. Mary Kaufmann

  • bltpm

    “it is useless to spend much time in talking; only a holy life and a good conscience will ease your mind and satisfy your soul, enabling you to face God with confidence.”

    Too often do I try to ease my mind and satisfy my soul by talking.

    As for strategies I have two.  The first is to plan ahead of time and limit the conversations I know are going to be troublesome to me.  For example, I used to call my mom every day to chat.  I decided then to call her only on Monday’s for a  15-20 min chat.  That’s it.  

    The second strategy was sort of born from the first one.  I glued a post-it note ontop of the telephone with big bold letters “you will render an account for every careless word you speak” (from Matthew 12:36)  — this helped me so much!

    Now it has become a habit that when I even begin thinking about calling her I have to first think of what day I’m in. If its not Monday then I don’t even call, and even on Monday’s I have started to forget to call.  In the beginning this was hard, but now it’s not that tough anymore.

    I need strategy ideas for when I get together with people… physically present, it’s hard for me to keep my trap closed….

    • LizEst

      Try to find out as much about them as you can, not just what they do, but what inspires them, what troubles them, where they find God in their lives. When you get to talking about God, you will have ample material for discussion. And, what you learn on this site can assist in that regard. Keep yourself out of the conversation. But, if they ask, don’t be rude. Participate, but don’t dwell on yourself. See Christ present in them and get to know Him in His many different disguises!

  • Patti Day

    I meet monthly with a group whose professed goal is to grow in holiness. The conversation in our most recent meeting took an early diversion from the subject to be discussed , i.e. our group and individual apostolates. There was a lively back and forth among three members, while the rest, six or so, looked on as if they were attending a ping pong match, heads jerking left and right to look at the person who had wrested the conversation from the other. I felt removed, like an observer watching slow motion, the voices blurred to the wah wah sound of the teacher in a Charlie Brown cartoon. When our time together was up and we were to rejoin our larger group, the moderator declared, “This is the best conversation we’ve had yet.” Only for you three, I thought, but fortunately didn’t say outloud. 

    When I read these chapters, it made me think about how many times I may have hijacked a conversation, turning away from a subject that may have been edifying for all, to a subject more to my liking or disliking, overspeaking others, overooking others, wounding others. 

    • Glory Enyinnaya

      Hello

      This is quite interesting.

      What if the setting had been different? What if in a more secular setting, you had spoken a bit about your Christian values, while others looked on worldless? For instance, if you have a professional blog on change and transformation and you use the opportunity to chip in a few words about Christian moral values and how they engender personal trnasformation (chastity, temperance, meekness etc) Of course, since your audience is secular, this is likely to meet with ”ZERO” comments, which is the equivalent of deafneing silence.

      Would this qualify as ”overspeaking or overlooking” others? 

      • LizEst

        Glory – I believe inserting Christian moral values and such comes with
        practice. We have to discern who we are speaking with and how much
        someone can “tolerate.”

        That word is in quotation marks because I do not mean we must water down our beliefs. What I mean is that talking to people, especially the uninitiated, about Christ, religion, moral values and such, is kind of like teaching a child about sex. (Of course, all this is different than if one were in a formal RCIA program or other Church setting). You answer their questions and you give them what they can handle. You can invite. As they ask more, one explains more and one can even offer something to challenge folks in their spiritual life. But, to give too much is often seen as being pushy or overbearing and can backfire and cause people to turn against faith rather than drawing them toward Christ. Naturally, a life and death situation calls for immediacy. But, most often, we can learn to be patient with others just as the Lord himself is patient with us. “Consider that our Lord’s patience is directed toward salvation.” (2 Peter 3:15a).

        Know your audience. Know the circumstances. Know what they can handle. Don’t water down your beliefs or our faith. Pray and let the Holy Spirit inform your speech. By asking the Holy Spirit to help us, and following where He leads, we will be less likely to “overspeak or overlook” others.

        Does this mean we should not say Merry Christmas when shopping? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Christ and what He did for us is who and what we celebrate in this season. Rejoice!

  • Robert Kraus

    I was just telling my wife yesterday that sometimes I felt that being a part of gossip meant that one was “included” in the gang. Whereas if you refrain, you’re an outsider. It’s tempting to indulge especially if one has a tendency to be shy, I’ve had to battle a lot over the past years.

    This book has started great! I had a couple quotes that I highlighted in my Kindle (thank you My Clippings feature!).

    “We may enjoy abundance of peace if we refrain from busying ourselves with the sayings and doings of others, and things which concern not ourselves.”

    – I guess that would apply to gossip as well, but for me it struck to my intellectual bent, constantly trying to read books, blogs, etc, to figure out the answers. Too many times I try to read my way to God even though I know instinctively that it won’t work. This was a very convicting quote.

    “The beginning of all temptations to evil is instability of temper and want of trust in God;”

    – This was powerful as lately my wife and I’s finances have tightened for the Christmas holiday, and I’ve noticed how anxious and irritable I can get in the midst of this uncertainty. Clearly I’m not trusting enough in God.

    I”m really enjoying this book so far.

  • EileenFrances

    This book is my treasured favorite. I keep a sticky note on my computer with a quote from Dionysius the Elder that reads, “Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.” Experience has taught me to especially not respond to negative comments, not just gossip, but personal insults as well, which seem to flow so much easier from the computer, which I must sit at during work each day. The scripture referenced above is very helpful; Mt 12:36.

  • abcmore

    I, too, have waited to read this book for years and thank God for this group to share it with!

  • shellyb54

    I have the Litany of Humility posted on my refrigerator and try to say each day. 

    O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
    From the desire of being esteemed,Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being loved…From the desire of being extolled …From the desire of being honored …From the desire of being praised …From the desire of being preferred to others…From the desire of being consulted …From the desire of being approved …From the fear of being humiliated …From the fear of being despised…From the fear of suffering rebukes …From the fear of being calumniated …From the fear of being forgotten …From the fear of being ridiculed …From the fear of being wronged …From the fear of being suspected …
    That others may be loved more than I,Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
    That others may be esteemed more than I …
    That, in the opinion of the world,
    others may increase and I may decrease …
    That others may be chosen and I set aside …
    That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
    That others may be preferred to me in everything…
    That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

      • Jeanette

        Dear Dan:
        Re: Pride: Opposite Virtue is Humility. Because of your book, “Navigating the Interior Life”, I have been inspired to read daily your reference in your book to Phillipians Chap. 2 about preserving unity in humility. This is very helpful to me. I also recite the Litany of Humility daily now. Thank you for all the great helps I have received in your wonderful book.

        • You are welcome Jeanette. Thank you for sharing how God is using it to serve you to Him.

    • HerHeartbeat

      Shelly, thanks for bringing this powerful prayer/virtue tool to everyone’s attention, though I realize it’s found many places. [I found mine on the website of Catholic singer/songwriter Donna Cori Gibson] I pray it daily and am finding Jesus slowly answering it…such as little glimmers as I perceive an inward nudge when “others are praised and I unnoticed” and am able to say “thank you!” with my will….and later finding real joy in recalling it. God is so good!!

    • I like that prayer of humility. When I first read it years ago, I did a double-take. I couldn’t imagine asking those things.  Being delivered from all those fears resonated, but – that others may be esteemed more than I – be chosen, and I set aside and the biggie: that others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should. (no no, I want to be the holiest!) By now, I can ask for these graces easily, since they now make sense to me. And yes, I certainly hope others may become a lot holier than I. 

  • shellyb54

    Vicki:

    I agree with you on having a true friend is rare and special. I would like your thoughts on Chapter 8 – Shunning Over-Familiarity. It says …
    DO NOT open your heart to every man, but discuss your affairs with one who is wiseand who fears God. Do not keep company with young people and strangers… Seek onlythe intimacy of God and of His angels, and avoid the notice of men.What do you think is meant by “do not keep company with young people and strangers”?

    • Vicki

      Great question, Shelly!  My kids would probably be offended by that line:).  Well, I’ll start by saying that when writing this post, I thought about who I was when I was young, and I was a very different person than I am now – before I edited the above, I had actually written ‘When I was young (and foolish)….”  I think that’s the key – with age comes wisdom.  When we were young, we did as the young, but as we mature, hopefully we grow in wisdom and holiness.  That’s not to say that we can’t be wise when we are young – look at St. Therese.  But I know I was rather lacking when I was 21 (not that I’ve made tons of progress, but I do see distinct differences in my values, priorities and understanding).  

      By spending an inordinate amount of time with someone who has traveled a shorter distance in their spiritual journey, I risk heading back down that road in the wrong direction, in effort to meet the other person where He is, trying to accommodate or to belong.  The last place I want to go in my spiritual journey is backward.  Also, I think the above passage somewhat addressed issues with strangers.  That’s where “chit-chat” comes in.  As I chat with strangers or acquaintances, I find myself getting into areas of discussion that are not necessarily edifying.  I think that’s a challenge, though – being charitable toward all without taking steps backwards.  When St. Francis de Sales says love every one with the pure love of charity, but have no friendship save with those whose intercourse is good and true, I think he may be discouraging intimacy with those who are not close friends.  Often in casual discussion, we can be too open in effort to be friendly.  When I or the other person begins speaking of things in ways mentioned in the above passage – whether bragging or complaining – I am either sinning or (if I’m the listening party), I risk leading the other person into sin.  There is usually nothing spiritually edifying in small talk or casual conversation.  Well, Shelly, those are my two cents – what do you think it means?  BTW – Thanks for starting a conversation!

  • Alexandra Campbell

    I am also very grateful to read this book again along with all of you, especially at this time of year. I  missed the fellowship since I did not join in with the last book! Although we may never meet face to face, I have received true consolation in holy “acquaintanceship” with you all. I noticed this morning at Mass that after reading this post I spoke much less after Mass and felt less of a need to seek out others for conversation which often tends to be pleasant but shallow. I think sometimes my social anxiety (not very severe but there) makes me chatty just to make myself feel more comfortable. It is only when I focus less on speaking and more on listening to the other person that I come away feeling blessed.

    • LizEst

      Glad you’re back Alexandra. You’ve been missed!

  • CLudwick

    I started reading this book some time ago so it’s good to do so again as I am an impulsive person and this truly speaks to me. I always have had a hard time controlling my temper, my tongue and/or my reactions to situations. It is difficult to change bad habits and this is just what over-talking can be. I find I don’t like what I perceive as the “difficult silences”. Since it is Advent and the Year of Faith I am moved to enlist the help of the Holy Spirit in order to “think before I speak”. May God give me the grace to do this.

    One thing I keep in mind when reading this (something my spiritual director told me) is that it is actually written for a religious community, for priests or monks. It definitely speaks to all of us but some things must be tempered with this thought. I have a 32 year-old daughter and over 20 nieces and nephews of varying ages(6 months up to 35) plus a 5 year old and a 2 year old grandaughter. Do I not “keep company with them”? I believe we must look to God and Christ, the Word, as ever-maturing Christians. We should try to “imitate Christ” in these dealings rather than try to act “cool” like a 16 year old, for example.

  • FloridaJoan

    TK’s Imitation of Christ is one of my favorites !   I’m so happy this group is reading and discussing it. Vicki, in response to your question #1 :  I find TK says it best in CH20 of Book 1 ” It is easier to remain silent than not too say too much … “. However, I don’t want to be rude and seemingly ignore others so I try and follow TK’s advice in The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation Ch 10 on Recollection : … ” Busy yourself with the outside world only in as far as the duties of your state … require…”.

    And to Ad maiorem dei gloriam : I really like your post-it note idea over the phone !

    I am looking forward to reading/discussing this book with you all.

    pax et bonum
    Joan

  • Sylvia_DeJesus

    Thank you, Shelly, for that Litany of Humility. I definitely will be praying that daily:) This is my first book club and my first time reading this book. I look forward to growing in my faith!

    • LizEst

      Welcome Sylvia! Glad you are with us. God bless you.

  • I think I tend to overdo it one way or another… When I’m with new people or I can’t relate to the conversation I’m so quiet people question why. But when I’m with people I get along with, I talk too much without thinking. I get just so hungry for companionship… But I know it’s not reason enough to be imprudent…
    That quote bt St. Francis de Sales… I have childhood friend who stood by me even when other people ditched me. But I can’t talk to her about spiritual life. In His mercy, God had it all planned out. I have two friends with whom I can talk to about God. And a few mentors as well. But I don’t see them as often and it can get a little lonely.

    • LizEst

      Mary – I’m so happy to read your post. I’ve missed seeing anything from you and was worried because of the weather in your part of the world. God bless you.

      • Thank you for your concern! I’m fine! God Bless you too!
        Bopha hit Visayas (middle group of islands) and Mindanao (southmost major island). I live in Luzon (northmost major island) and so we were spared from the storm. 
        The devastation is horrible! Storms don’t normally hit down south that is one reason why it was so bad. The people there weren’t used to typhoons. 

  • Plevesque

    I enjoy his emphasis on humility and vanity. Gossip seems to slip often into pride and vanity. Personally I have a tendency to always try to slip in a smart or clever comment. Mostly I suffer from recrurring foot in mouth disease.

  • Stephanie

    I have similar troubles to other posters. I tend to be shy at times and not speak around people I don’t know, and then other times I get nervous or too comfortable (I guess?) and say things I shouldn’t. Balance is definitely something I need to work on. There is no need to be shy, but it is important to always think carefully about what is shared before speaking. Some things are best unsaid, and also it’s always best to not say anything negative… I realize sometimes I say something that could come off as rude when I didn’t mean it that way.

    I also need to learn to stay away from celebrity gossip! There is no need to spread rumors about people (true or untrue) that I don’t know, and we all know that scandal sells much better than good, so we are not going to hear much about the charity work that they do, but magazine covers are all about who is dating whom, celebs without makeup, celebs looking bad, etc. I think someone needs to start a celebrity positivity website that focuses on charity work and good things celebrities do in order to motivate and inspire rather than cause people to gossip about scandals they’re involved in that may or may not be true.

    • MaryofSharon

      I agree on the celebrity gossip.  As I’ve grown in my relationship with God, I’ve grown in the conviction that I shouldn’t even bother looking at the covers of magazines in the grocery line, not that it’s a sin exactly. At best it is just a pointless distraction, cluttering my mind and heart with unimportant things, holding up empty ideals. At worst, it’s allowing myself to get caught up in the private lives of other, knowing things that I have no right to know.

      “An overweening desire for knowledge brings many distractions and much delusion…how much knowledge there is which adds nothing to the good of the soul.”  (CH 2.2)

  • carl641

    Unfortunately my strategy for being charitable towards all is frequently after the fact. I find myself making snap judgement s which aren’t always charitable. TK’s comments in Chap 14 is dead on:
    ‘Our judgement s frequently depend on our likes and dislikes and are thus far from true because we make them conform to our personal prejudices. …..It often happens that there is some hidden motive within us, or outside influence acting upon us, that leads us to make such judgement s. Countless are the individuals who seek themselves in all they put their hand to, but are quite unaware of the fact.’

    This tendency affects my speech and I find myself making hasty or foolish conversation or uninformed and uncharitable judgement s about others. When I became aware of this I started trying to control my speech and my judgement s. This generally involved not speaking, as I soon realized that frequently I didn’t have enough information to make an intelligent reply. As TK says in chap 20:

    ‘Someone once said as often as I have been out among men, I have returned less a man. We experience the very same thing when we talk overlong. It is easier to be completely silent than to refrain from talking too much; it is easier to remain at home than to be always on ones guard when in public.’

    This however creates its own set of problems. By avoiding speech and contact with people you put yourself in an artificial situation. You may not have regrets about bad speech or uncharitable behavior or thoughts but you also may have missed many opportunities to shed the light you have or help others on the way. The place I’m at with this now is to try and do everything in love. That sounds good, but I fail more often than I succeed. Maybe that’s what you have to do to get where you need to be?

    • LizEst

      Carl – I believe part of the reason we make hasty or foolish conversation, or react inappropriately, is that we think a great deal of ourselves. To combat this, we must, as Blessed Pope John XXIII, spoke about in the book of his we just read here, think of ourselves as nothing, others as better than ourselves, and God as everything. This is, however, easier said than done.

      It takes much practice and persistence to put our pride to death. And, just when we think we’ve “gotten it,” we get tripped up again! The humiliation does us good if we take it to heart, accept such and learn from it. If not, we just rail against the “instruction,” our pride rises again, and we go back to making inappropriate remarks thinking all the while we have become better.

      Practice and prayer are great helps in combating this tendency. Years ago, one of my confessors said, “To become humble, you have to be humiliated.” Harsh sounding words, but true!

      God bless you, Carl. And, may the Lord be with you in your quest for holiness.

      • carl641

        I can see that about the humiliation. I just wish I was better at handling it. You’re right about prayer and practice, and I can say the Lord has been sending lots of opportunities for practice and prayer my way. 🙂 A two steps forward one step back kind of thing I guess.

        • LizEst

          Nevertheless, it’s progress. So, don’t give up. That’s what makes a saint. If you stumble, just get back up and keep going.

          It’s like the old popular adage: Quitters never win and winners never quit. Same thing about becoming holy and becoming a saint! Just keep at it. And, keep Christ ever before you.

          Jesus has already done the hard part and won the victory. His burden is light and His yoke sweet. And, He is actually doing most of the work, in our daily lives, to get us to our heavenly home with Him. We can’t do it without Him. So, entrust your journey to the Lord. Thank God, He is with us always.

  •   SHUN the gossip of men as much as
    possible, for discussion of worldly affairs, even though sincere, is a great
    distraction inasmuch as we are quickly ensnared and captivated by vanity. Ch 10.

    I prefer silence anytime, but when I’m in a situation where the conversation has turned to gossip, I usually comment something like this. “I don’t know much about (them/him/her) so I really can’t relate, except that from what I hear you saying, they need our prayers.”  It’s surprising how quickly the subject is changed.

     

    • LizEst

      This is wonderful practical advice for changing the subject when gossip arises! I will try to remember and use it. Thank you so much mejco. God bless you.

    • shellyb54

      Maryellen – I love your comment. I will certainly try to use your comment.

    • Vicki

      I usually just don’t say anything, or I change the subject; but I like this idea much better!  Thanks for sharing!

  • Hi All! I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. Thank you soooo much! I find that when I actually set time aside each morning to pray (Fr Bartunek’s Better Part is fantastic!), and pray through the day, I find myself more prudent in my speech and charity toward others.  I also need to pray little prayers all day, and also conscientously stop myself and ask the Lord for the right response before I open my mouth.  Patty

  • novice01

    I am so glad that I am part of the Book Club. I am learning a lot from everyone’s comments that I find useful. esp. in avoiding gossip . I aso have a big problem with being critical and making rash judgement about people including priests ( worse) . If I am not saying it, I could be thinking it , which is just as bad. I find that praying the Humility Prayer confronts and makes real for me how pridefu and envious I am. There is someone that is the object of my envy so what I’ve done is say her name such as ” that (name ) and others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it ”   

  • With no time to read your Responses, I plead with all of you…..kindly pray for this old Grandma whose Chief Root Sin is talking too much…….but I thank Jesus that He at last found a way to stop me from impulsively talking about myself and, instead talking passionately about His Message of Divine Mercy.

  • Victoria Campbell

    Way behind in my response and reading but determined not to miss the wisdom of this great book.  Thanks for bringing it to my attention.  I am part of the Cursillio movement at my church and the the importance of our weekly gatherings as a focus toward growing in holiness by adhering to piety, study and action and especially our ability to gently guide one another on the road to encourage spiritual growth is underlined by reading and thinking about this book. 

  • CeciliaMarks

    As I’m trying to get “caught up” with my reading this Christmas season and this section of the readings from Imitation of Christ along w/your posting really struck home w/me. I was once told that our main gift and our root sin are two sides of the same coin so as a teacher my “gift of gab” is always under the microscope. I asked the Lord to use His hot coals to purify my speech so as to use it for good and not for bad in my daily conversations and in my teaching. However, as the years go by I notice that I am pulled more and more to the silence and away from the consolation to converse with others.  

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