Early into Cassian's Conferences
Have you ever read something so carefully that it comes back to you while you're sleeping? This is happening now with Cassian. I take this to be a good thing, and have been ruminating on the following bits from the first two Conferences so far:
First, as I posted the other day, our disciplines, plans, vigils, and other actions should (indeed, must) take second place to the law of charity. Whatever good we sought in prayer will be far outweighed by the anger we experience if we're interrupted by the good and necessary things around us. Our plans for the day may come to nothing; we will still encounter the Risen Christ in the everyday moments, and the moments-between-moments that we hardly notice. This ought to go without saying, but how many times have I thrown down my breviary, angry because something interrupted my plan for the moment? And that something was a child? Or a request from my wife? The whole of The Law and the Prophets comes to two sentences; I would do well to remember them early and often.
Second, Abba Moses addresses the distractions and thoughts that come to use while at prayer. While we may not be able to control the thoughts that come into our heads, we can certainly control our reactions to them. We can also influence the things that come into our heads by controlling what surrounds us the rest of the time, when we're not at prayer. The impact of this on our social media diets should be fairly obvious. In case it's not, here's my hot-take: social media is a raging trash fire. The less you use it, the happier you will be.
I'm still chewing on the meaning of discretion in the second conference. I had initially thought it was synonymous with prudence. I don't think that's the case and need to do some more reading and thinking. It seems to be closer to discernment. We could all do with more discernment.