The temptation to gossip is part of being human. But it's possible that our digital world—with it's constant use of instant communication and information sharing—makes it easier to do, and with so many ways to talk to my friends I find myself making allowances for comments that aren't nice, useful or necessary.
What can we do in the discouraging moments after hanging up the phone and realizing we said too much—again? (What's wrong with my heart that there is no room to think of Jesus in these moments? Instead, I fail, and then feel ashamed and petty. I don't feel good about where my spiritual life is).
So for the next couple weeks I am going to try nip my temptations to gossip in the bud.
There are lots of moments for easy gossip during the day. Memorizing one of these quotes could help us in the future by prompting a pause and the question "What would the saints do here?"
"When you talk to them, put all of your love and sweetness into your words—or rather ask Jesus to speak through you."—St. Mother Teresa
"When you speak, look at the person in front of you. Say this prayer in your mind: Jesus, be now in this person when I speak to him and help me to see you in him. Bless me, so that I may speak to him with all sincerity as I would speak to you."—St. Mother Teresa
“After seeing how many people waste their lives, their whole lives (tongues wagging, wagging, wagging, and all the inevitable consequences), silence seems preferable to me, and more necessary than ever. And I well understand, Lord, why we have to give an account of all our idle words.”—St. Josemaría Escrivá
“If you have so many defects, why are you surprised to find defects in others?"—St. Josemaría Escrivá
“How I wish your bearing and conversation were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people would say: 'This man reads the life of Jesus Christ.'”—St. Josemaría Escrivá
Consider these final words from Kristin Neff in the book Self-Compassion:
And if you feel you can’t change, that it’s too hard, that the countervailing forces of our culture are too strong, then have compassion for that feeling and start there. Each new moment presents an opportunity for a radically different way of being. We can embrace both the joy and the sorrow of being human, and by doing so we can transform our lives.