|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||Salvation|
Do not be carried away with untimely and indiscriminate laughter and thoughtless prattling, lest you scatter what you have gathered with toil and tears. Indiscriminate laughter erodes all the good that has accumulated in the soul. It distances the Grace of the Lord, kills the remembrance of death, brings forgetfulness regarding the terrible Judgment, freezes the zeal to struggle, blurs the conscience, grieves the angels and delights the demons. Laughter is the cause of insolence, the producer of sin, the manipulator of prodigality, the forerunner of every fall. Laughter is the sign of a hedonistic heart, revelation of a cowardly soul and proof of lacking spiritual valour.
Guard yourself against untimely laughter, so that it doesn’t steal your tears, which bring every spiritual good. Guard yourself against laughter, so that your soul not be emptied of virtue and you not be overcome by spiritual indifference, lest you fall into the devil's nets. Christ blesses - not those who laugh, but those who with self-awareness weep and mourn:
“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh” (Luke 6:21).
Blessed are those who weep in this life for their sins - and for God’s edifying pedagogic tests, when these are gratefully and patiently accepted. They shall be laughing and rejoicing in the life to come.
But guard yourself also against verbiage and prattling. If there is no need for you to speak, don't say anything - even if you want to say something good. Because many evils usually originate from excessive words. “Excess is from the wicked one”.
Quite often, after we begin with God-pleasing reasons, we end up with obscenities, oaths, slanders, lies and all things wicked. Verbosity feeds vanity like oil fuels a fire. Verbosity cultivates forgetfulness of God and of our sins and shatters solemnity. Talkativeness chills spiritual fervour and spawns spiritual laziness and indifference. Verbiage relaxes attention and dilutes prayer.
Take care therefore, lest you become your own enemy, because “death and life are dependent on the tongue, and those who govern it, shall eat of its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21).
Silence is the beginning of the soul’s cleansing from passions; it can then tirelessly teach all the Commandments.
The Apostle James says:
“3 The tongue is a small member of the body, and yet it blusters greatly”... (James 3:5)
“8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of
deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we
curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God"
(James 3:8-9)” .
“If one is faultless in words, then he is a perfect man, able to also bridle the whole body” (James 3:2).
Speech requires a lot of attention. You need to think in which place and time you are speaking, for what purpose, who you are addressing, what the motivation is, and what the results of your speech are. Think about all this before you speak. The silent one thinks about these things, and that's why he remains silent.
On Judgment Day you will give account even for a trivial pointless word. The Lord himself assured us about this:
“And I say to you that every idle word that people utter, they will be accountable for it on the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).
That is why, as far back as centuries ago, the prophet David had beseeched God:
“O Lord, place a guard over my mouth and a door of enclosure around my lips. Do not divert my heart to words of wickedness” (Psalms 141:3-4).
"May I guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I placed a guard by my mouth for when the sinner came against me. I became deaf and humbled myself and remained silent" (Psalms 39:2-3).
“On the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, and we wept when we remembered Zion... How can we chant the ode of the Lord on a foreign land?” (Psalms 136. 1, 4).
Like the Jews in Babylon, we too are captives, passers-by and sojourners in this land. Our homeland is not this temporary earth, but the eternal new Zion of heaven. We are now living in the valley of weeping; tomorrow we hope to be in the land of eternal consolation and joy. We are now living in exile; tomorrow we will be in our true homeland.
“We do not have any permanent city here; rather, we long for the future one” (Hebrews 13.14).
So... how can you laugh while you are likewise captive and exiled 'in a foreign land'? Weep and lament that you are far from your eternal homeland and ask the Lord with tears to not deprive you of it when the great time of return arrives...
"You have suffered and mourned and wept; may your laughter change to mourning and your joy to pensiveness" (James 4:9).
Keep a deep awareness of your sinfulness, mourn, weep... Let mourning for repentance be your laughter. Make the sorrow for contrition your joy .
Two are the sources, but also the daughters, of laughter and jocosity: pride and the love of hedonism - the two most deadly passions. So guard yourself against these, lest you realize your spiritual poverty during the departure of your soul. It will be too late then to be of help to yourself.
Article published in English on: 15-02-2023.
Last update: 15-02-2023.