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The ninth degree of humility is, that a monk refrain his tongue from speaking, keeping silence until a question be asked him, as the Scripture sheweth: “In much talking thou shalt not avoid sin”: and, “The talkative man shall not be directed upon the earth.”
Silence, obedience, and humility go together. Where one finds one of these virtues, one will find the other two. The man who talks much is rarely a good listener. The man who will not listen to God loses the ability to listen to others, and the man who will not listen to others loses the ability to listen to God.
Saint Benedict enjoins the practice of silence because he knows that in much speaking there will inevitably occur sins against charity, justice, purity, truth, and a many other virtues.
Silence begin within oneself. There are men who keep up a ceaseless conversation with themselves. Their souls are polluted by the noise of their own vain chatter. Outwardly these men may appear to be quiet but, inwardly, they never stop talking. Their secret conversations are made up of