Wicked thoughts

6 May 2019

St John Chrysostom, end of the 13th century, from Vatopedi Monastery IN RDon’t express them in words. Let them quieten down within you and they’ll soon disappear.

We’re human, and often enough we have wicked, inappropriate or disgusting thoughts. But let’s prevent those thoughts from becoming words. Push them down and they’ll weaken and then disappear.

Just as, if you cast wild animals into a pit and cover it up, they suffocate easily, by the same token, if you leave an opening so they can breathe a little, it refreshes them and prevents them disappearing. On the contrary, it makes them even fiercer.

This is the way it is with wicked thoughts. When they arise within us, if we block off their way out, we get rid of them quickly. But if we externalize them in words, this makes them more powerful, since, through our tongues, we’ve given them room to breathe. Then it’s not long before we fall from the habit of disgusting words into the pit of absurd actions.

>Saint John Chrysostom