Thoughts for Reflection from Benedictine & Monastic Authors

Day by Day

2013 August 23 - The Value of Discretion

The gift of discretion tells a person when to push ahead and when to pull back. It knows when to unleash zeal and when to exercise the utmost caution. It also knows when to have mercy on my own weakness. The strength and the weakness of the flesh are always transparent to the person of discretion. When the flesh is fertile by the Spirit and when it is not, discretion knows it well. Such a person can let go the raw energy of power, pent up for long periods, and control it with precision skill, fearing nothing when it is for a just cause. But with the same precision, it knows the sensitivity of others and how quickly another can be hurt. Discretion is ever vigilant. It always has the gospel and the conversion of another at heart. Mindful of its own ways, discretion knows the motives of others because it understands the sources of energy, and it knows when another’s energy is inappropriate. It knows who touched it, and for what reason. Because the other stands revealed, discretion knows the proper response for the improper behavior. With evil, it never responds in kind. Where there is ugly force, it blunts. Where there is a harsh tongue, it soothes. Where there is the lack of peace of whatever kind, it brings the restorative balm of irenic reason to bear most patiently. Discretion, in short, finds the Royal Way, looking neither to the right nor to the left. It is therefore not predictable by any formula or measurement. It exercises wisdom, sees the golden where others see the grey, and it pushes forward to the brilliance of Truth wherever Christ chooses to be seen. (pages 47-49)

Lovers of the Place: Monasticism Loose in the Church
by Francis Kline, OSCO