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d) Discretion and prayer.


Eagerness is not enough for success in good works; guidance of the reason is necessary. Reason enables us to concentrate our efforts on those works which most accord with our capabilities and strength. Reason helps us to choose the way of action which will lead to the best results. In the patristic texts, reason is also called discretion, or the gift of reasoning. The highest degree of reason is wisdom that integrates knowledge, experience and the ability to see the spiritual essence of appearances.

With a lack of reason, even well-intended actions and words may result in bad consequences. St. Antony the Great had this to say about it: "Many virtues are beautiful but sometimes ineptitude or utter excitement may cause harm…reason is the virtue which teaches and prepares a man to walk the straight way and not to skew at the partings. If we walk the straight way, then we will never be lured by enemies, neither from to right, to excessive abstinence, nor to the left, to lack of diligence, carelessness and idleness. Reason is the eye and lantern of the soul…With reason, a man will review his desires, words and acts and give up all which remove him from God" (Philokalia). The Lord Jesus Christ spoke about reason in the following two parables: <see next chapter>

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