Discernment: giving comfort and rest to souls

TAKE my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:29


Monk Moses the Athonite

Monk Moses the Athonite


DISCERNMENT (διάκριση) picks out what is right, chooses the good, assesses what is the better, flees extremes, walks the middle path. It looks for the best answer to any question put to it, for the most suitable solution.

Discernment is necessary for all people, but especially for teachers, guides, and counsellors.

Neither extreme strictness nor great indulgence are necessary. Ill-judged and undiscerning interventions embitter people, and make them despairing in everything.

In getting close to other people, stubborn, shallow and off-the-cuff methods bring no benefits.

Discernment emerges from knowledge, experience, spiritual husbandry and maturity. It is the result of self-examination, self-criticism, study, and divine illumination.

Discernment comforts and gives rest to souls. Lack of discernment wounds, wearies, and makes wretched. Guides have a responsibility. They do not create new problems with superficial directions.

In daily personal relationships, it is necessary to get close, to have real understanding, to work together, to be courteous and affable, to have a spirit of sacrifice.

In particular, when we put pressure on young people we do not help them. They react, they do not listen and they are distanced. Pushing a lot, shoving something down their throats, squeezing them, brings the opposite result to what was intended.

Discernment distances someone from the worst dangers in the spiritual life.

Discernment makes its friends strangers to every kind of error. It does not leave the disease to get worse.

Monk Moses the Athonite, in “Kivotos” (‘The Ark’), the magazine of the Diocese of Paros and Naxos, May-August 2012.
Source. This is my translation.


An icon of the Panagia Theotokos, in the Ekatontapyliani church on Paros.

An icon of the Panagia Theotokos, in the Ekatontapyliani church on Paros.


SEEING the ocean of life surge on a wave of temptations, hastening to thy calm harbour I cry to thee: O all merciful Lord, draw my life up out of corruption.


O LADY, do good unto my soul, amidst the evils of many temptations, and implore God beseechingly, who is the giver of all good things, to make me worthy of the kingdom that is on high.

At Matins for today. Source.


2 thoughts on “Discernment: giving comfort and rest to souls

  1. A Sister gave me this prayer once to help me with my discernment process. It greatly helped!

    “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

    O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.”

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