One of the characteristics of holy people, according to Rowan Williams, ‘is that they make you feel better than you are’. A holy person enlarges your world, shines a light on your world and changes the landscape of your life – they help you to open up.
Saint Benedict had a similar intuition when he condemned murmuring – negativity. In chapter 34 of his rule he states, ‘Above all let not the evil of murmuring appear for any reason whatsoever in the least word or sign. If anyone is caught at it, let him be placed under very severe discipline’. I find it fascinating that in 480 he identified this as the ‘most serious sin in community’
When we speak, Benedict wants us to speak words that give life, that are creative of the other. For Benedict, this is the heart of the moral life. I read somewhere the simple thought, ’Be kind, for everyone is carrying a heavy burden’.