I remember, near the beginning of my daily spiritual practice, during my first attempt to sit in silence for 10 minutes before Morning Prayer, that the truth of this ninth step of humility showed itself to me. From my journal:
Several interactions from the day before came to mind, and I saw them for what they were. I recognized that when I was silent by choice, I had no regrets about the interaction. When I spoke, however, I was very likely to have spoken from the wrong place in myself.
Minutes later, in the course of Morning Prayer, words from Ephesians 4, in the passage appointed for that day, jumped from the page:
Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.
Words have power, whether we recognize it or not, and our Father Benedict wants to wean us from our addiction to the power we wield with our tongues. Until I don't NEED to speak, to express my view, to trumpet my thoughts to the world, I am unable to cultivate the inner listening in the moment that has the potential to transform my mouth into a vessel for the grace of Christ.