The Art of Governing the Tongue

The Art of Governing the Tongue

Br. Christopher shares on Trappist silence:  Although it is not as all pervasive as in the old days, silence is still a major value in Trappist monasteries.  Perhaps nothing is more counter cultural in our times, in which constant communication in the great virtue.  Some people fear silence, others consider it useless.  St. Benedict in his Rule tells us that the monk should cultivate silence at all times.  Recently I came across an old pamphlet by the Monks of New Clairvaux with some advice about how do so:

Choose to listen rather than to talk. For silence is preferable to speech. It is wiser to talk too little than too much. And to speak well, than to say many things. Aim at speaking to the purpose rather than often.

The following rules are helpful regarding the control of our tongues:
1. Reflect before speaking.
2. Know how to speak by silence.
3. Restrain the tongue when the heart is agitated.
4. Be silent, when you feel too great a desire to talk.
5. Speak after others.
6. Never against others.
7. Always speak well of others.
8. Try to never excuse yourself.
9. Speak always with modesty.
10. Never against the truth.
11. Always with discretion.
12. Never speak through humor.  Silence the biting word when the heart is stirred.  
13. Hold in check the tendency to “pour ourselves out”.
14. Refrain from talking about how you have been wronged; such restraint creates a fountain of happiness.
15. Never seek information through curiosity.
16.  Make it a point to complain about nothing, neither persons, events, nor things.
17. Do not speak of yourself, nor of your personal affairs.
18. Say little of your works; less about your troubles.  Confide these latter to very few persons.

#silence #trappists #monks




Cistercian monastic life gives primary place of chanting the Opus Dei or Divine Office in community as well as personal time spent in sacred reading which fulfill the monk's sacred duty of seeking God.


Cistercian monastic life allows rooms for guests because all guests are to be received as Christ.  We never know if we have entertained angels.

Life in Common

Cistercian monastic life is communal:  We share all things in common as did the early Christian community so as to live in greater charity and union with Christ.