SPEAKING vs. SILENCE

SPEAKING vs. SILENCE

“I believed, therefore I spoke; I was greatly humbled.” (Ps 115: 1, LXX / cf. Ps 116: 10)

It is usually silence, not speech, that is associated with humility (and all other virtues) in Orthodox piety. But quoted above is one of the countless passages in our Tradition that celebrate speech, faith-based speech, and its humbling grace. It’s not always better, or more pious, to be silent. We can do great damage to ourselves and others, especially to those closest to us, by not speaking enough, by keeping ourselves to ourselves. Quoted above is such a beautiful, Spirit-filled moment the Psalmist shares with us, lest we think silence is always the “humble” option. The Psalmist has been compelled to speak, by and from the conviction of his faith, and “greatly humbled” by thus extending himself. He shared of himself, when he could have been silent, but faith made him expose his heart in the sacrificial way he did. And by “sacrificial” I mean sanctifying (“sacri-fice” comes from “sacer” and “facere” meaning “making holy”). So let us speak, to God and one another, and not hurt one another with self-centered silences, when we should be offering the “reasonable sacrifice” (λογική λατρεία) of speaking.

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