(Tuesday, October 24)

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
And a door of enclosure around my lips.” (Ps 140/141:3, LXX)

Here is our strategy against the untamable tongue: We ask God for a “guard” and a protective “door” around our mouth, because “no man can tame the tongue,” as St. James says; “It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8) This does not mean that we ask God to shut us up altogether, because a “guard” and a “door” don’t only keep (certain words) out or in. They also let in and out the ones that are allowed and needed.

What is meant, more specifically, by the “guard” and protective “door” in the above-quoted Psalm? Several virtues come to mind, which can guard and protect us from being cocky, self-centered, rash or inconsiderate in our words: humility, patience, wisdom, compassion and love. These are divine energies, or manifestations of grace, which rubs off on us, so to say, when we open ourselves to communion with God in heartfelt prayer. His Spirit of humility, patience, wisdom, compassion and love comes to “abide” in us, as we let Him do that.

This morning I remind myself that I can’t “fix” or heal my choice of words on my own, or by half-measures like biting my tongue every now and then. I need to *want* and embrace God’s Spirit and presence in my life, from the beginning of my day. This morning I ask for His humility, patience, wisdom, compassion and love, exposing and handing over to Him my lack thereof. “Come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One!