-Br. Cassian, Monk of Gethsemani
Br. Cassian was a senior monk in the monastery where I lived as a young man. Much of his time there was spent as the Porter. The Porter is basically the guy that greets visitors and people making a retreat when they arrive at the monastery. I can’t remember the exact words from the Rule of St. Benedict but he writes that the Porter should be a senior monk who is discreet and not prone to gossip. Living in the monastery and working in a large office is not all that different. Both are full of people of varying personality types and needs. Monasteries and offices are full of gossip, half-truths, and pure speculation. As human beings we are all prone to be seduced by gossip. I have always tried to have the attitude that I shouldn’t believe anything I hear and only half of what I see. I think Br. Cassian hit the nail on the head. What if we all had his attitude that almost nothing is any of our business? What if we all minded our own business? What if we all refrained from meddling in the lives of others, whether they are our co-workers or family members? There are some antidotes to gossip. They are called truth and transparency. If you want people to stop gossiping put the truth out there and let everything be as open and transparent as possible. If there is going to be gossip, and there always will be as long as there are people, then let the gossip be based on the truth.
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