“Among other virtues, Abba Philemon had also the following: he could not bear other an idle word; if someone, forgetting himself, began to tell of something not concerned with profit to the soul, he never showed any response.”
Of course, at social gatherings there is much conversation. We get together to share stories, to catch up on the news, to make future plans. But even when conversation is the expectation, idle words can take over. We can go on and on and on too long. We might like to hear a couple of well-chosen comments, but not an audio book about some life event.
Recently I was on the receiving end of one of those long stories. The story was interesting, but the timing was off. We were gathered at the end of a presentation; niceties were appropriate before we all went on our way. I may have been rude, but I followed Abba Philemon’s advice and ‘never showed any response.’