You will not be able to collect any words that you scatter every moment through your tongue, nor turn back your bad speech and the gossip on your neighbours.
A woman was possessed by the passion of speaking in vain. She spoke badly about her neighbours. The parish priest heard about that and started to see her. Speaking with her, he told her to take a small pillow with flakes and scatter it as a small material sacrifice, promising her a great spiritual reward. She has done so. Then, the priest told her:
- Now, gather all the flakes!
- Such a thing is impossible! she replied.
- Likewise you will not be able to collect any words that you scatter at every moment through your mouth, nor turn back your bad speech and the gossip on your neighbours!
She was amazed at this practical lesson, especially when the priest added that, despite our inability to gather the words we've said before, God gathers them and at the end of our days we will judged for them.
(Translated from Arhimandrit Serafim Alexiev, Tâlcuire la Rugăciunea Sfântului Efrem Sirul, traducere din limba bulgară de Gheorghiță Ciocioi, Editura Sophia, București, 2011, pp. 53-54)