Saturday 17 December 2011

The deficit of discernment


A big problem in the modern spiritual life is the deficit of discernment - our inability to know Truth from Falsehood - to see-through deception.

This deficit is perfectly understandable, considering the weak and shallow nature of modern Christianity; yet it is devastating in this particular time and place, where evil walks in a multitude of disguises, and puts forth a kaleidoscope of temptations.

The spiritual life has mostly been eroded by softness, blurring, laxness - yet the alternative of strict 'ultra-correctness' (the unyielding observation of forms) is often not a solution, since it can too easily be impersonated, and too easily transforms from love to pride.

Perhaps the lack of discernment, and the consequent inability to hold the true middle way, is the single most important spiritual problem of all in the end times when lies come salted with truths, and purposive evil wears the cloak of virtue?

Perhaps if only we could recognise the path, then we would be able to tread it?

Perhaps it is discernment for which we should pray, even above all other gifts of Grace?



Pierre said...

"Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon. We may ask what is relevant but anything beyond that is dangerous. He is a liar. The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don't listen to him. Remember that - do not listen."
--Father Merrin ("The Exorcist", 1973)

Anonymous said...

I hope that, when our time comes, God takes into account that we lived in the worst time to be Christian in history. With the truth so mixed with lies we have to face problems that our ancestors lived happily without.

The Crow said...

When one lies no longer, oneself, the lies of others become obvious. The truth becomes just as obvious.
This is not a pleasant state, to be able to see things as things are, in the presence of omnipresent human dishonesty.
It is, however, an honest state to inhabit, oneself.

HenryOrientJnr said...

Yes, we are living in times similar to the one depicted by Tolkien prior to the War breaking from the East. Theoden is bewitched. Denethor is subverted. Saruman has joined the other side. Yet Rohan, Gondor and the Wizards are the forces of Good still.

In my Facebook circle of friends are many people who are Eastern Orthodox (acquaintances of one initial friend, a truly kind and good person). Some even studied at Christian schools. Yet they are totally under the sway of Leftist ideology.

America is evil. Israel is the enemy. The Palestinians are the victims. You know the rest of this line of thinking.

Maybe there is something in this devil stuff, though my interpretation is just that most people are stupid and easily led and while good people hesitate to propagandize (preferring honest dialogue) evil ones do not, so they fall under the sway of the latter.

GFC said...

We need discernment and we need constancy, strength of resolve. All too often we are given the grace of discernment only to receive it in vain because our resolve to act on what is shown to us, flags.

JP said...

The purpose of Leftist (mal)education is precisely to destroy the power of discernment in order to prevent people from recognizing truth, beauty, and goodness. As the PC state is an enemy of truth, beauty, and goodness, it must attempt to convince its subjects that these qualities do not exist.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - you are right. Leftist (mal) education is an intoxicating miasma; a poison gas against the soul.