Humility By Accident

In homily 24, St. Isaac points out a fundamental law of discernment:  “Everything that can be perceived by the senses, whether an action or a word, is a  manifestation of something hidden within.”   This principle of discernment is not given to us so that we can spy into the hearts of others by trying to surmise what is hidden in their hearts by scrutinizing their words and actions.  No, if we apply…

Finding A Spiritual Father

Elder Porphyrios I received an e-mail yesterday from someone asking advice on how to find a spiritual father.  I had to tell him that finding a spiritual father, in one sense, is very difficult and may take a lifetime.  In fact, if by finding a spiritual father he means that he is looking for a relationship with a spiritual mentor that is like what one reads about in the Philokalia or the…

Spiritual Discernment In The Fog, At Night, and Without My Glasses

Passions are like some hard [dark] substances that, standing in the midst between the light and vision, prevent the latter from discerning the difference of things. St. Isaac the Syrian  Homily 66 St. Isaac the Syrian speaks of noetic vision as natural knowledge, that is, knowledge of God, of one another and of created things that human beings in a healthy (not sinning) state would know, not rationally (by deduction) but by…