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THE IMITATION OF CHRIST

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BOOK ONE
THOUGHTS HELPFUL
IN THE LIFE OF THE SOUL

Liber Primus
Admonitiones ad Vitam spiritualem utiles.

Chapter 10
AVOIDING IDLE TALK

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.
Many a time I wish that I had held my peace and had not associated with men. Why, indeed, do we converse and gossip among ourselves when we so seldom part without a troubled conscience? We do so because we seek comfort from one another's conversation and wish to ease the mind wearied by diverse thoughts. Hence, we talk and think quite fondly of things we like very much or of things we dislike intensely. But, sad to say, we often talk vainly and to no purpose; for this external pleasure effectively bars inward and divine consolation.

Cap. 10.
De superfluitate verborum.

1. Caveas tumultum hominum, quantum potes. Multum nam impedit tractatus fæcularium gestorum, etiamsi simplici intentione proferantur. Cito enim inquinamur vanitate et captivamur. Vellem me pluries tacuisse, et inter homines non fuisse. Sed quare tam frequenter loquimur, et invicem fabulamur, cum tamen sine læsione conscientiæ raro ad silentium redimus? Ideo tam frequenter loquimur, quia per multas locutiones ad invicem consolari quærimus, et cor diversis cogitationibus fatigatum optamus relevare, et multum libenter, de his quæ diligimus, seu cupimus, vel quæ nobis sentimus contraria, libet loqui et cogitare.

Therefore we must watch and pray lest time pass idly. When the right and opportune moment comes for speaking, say something that will edify. Bad habits and indifference to spiritual progress do much to remove the guard from the tongue. Devout conversation on spiritual matters, on the contrary, is a great aid to spiritual progress, especially when persons of the same mind and spirit associate together in God.  

 

2. Sed proh dolor sæpe inaniter, et frustra. Nam hæc exterior consolatio interioris et divinæ consolationis non modicum detrimentum est. Ideo vigilandum est et orandum ne tempus otiose transeat. Si loqui licet et expedit, quæ ædificabilia sunt loquere. Malus usus et negligentia profectus nostri multum facit ad incustodiam oris nostri. Juvat tamen non parum ad profectum spiritualem devota spiritualium rerum collatio, maxime ubi pares animo et spiritu in Deo sibi sociantur.  
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