Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


It is discernment which in Scripture is described as they eye and the lamp of the body. This is what the Saviour says, 'our eye is the light of your body, and if your eye is sound then there is light in your whole body. But if your eye is diseased then your entire body will be in darkness' (Matthew 6:22-23). This eye sees through all the thoughts and actions of a man, examining and illuminating everything which we must do. And if it is not sound in a man, that is, if it is not fortified by good judgment and by well-founded knowledge, if it is deluded by error and by presumption, this makes for darkness in our entire body. The clear thrust of the mind as well as everything we do will be shadowed and we shall be wrapped in the blindness of sin and the blackness of passion. 'If the light within you is darkness,' says the Saviour, 'what a darkness that will be' (Matthew 6:23). For let no one doubt that our thoughts and our works, which originate from the deliberative processes of discernment, will be caught up in the shadows of sin if ever the good judgment of our heart goes astray or is taken over by the night of ignorance." St John Cassian, "Conferences," (New York: Paulist Press, 1985), pp. 61-63, (a conversation between Abba Moses and John Cassian)

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