Sunday, March 8, 2009


A few ideas have been running through my head about the future, which have urged me towards the practice of discernment. Since I have been struggling with my faith, this is obviously going to be a challenge. I have to remember how and when to discern. As I recall, St. Ignatius of Loyola has been the definitive voice for learning how to discern God's word. I found an article about it here:

Before we can say discernment is actually occurring, certain conditions must be met:

1. You must desire to do God’s will. This means that this must be your fundamental choice in life.

2. You must be open to God at the moment of discerning. This means that you must be completely open to accept any of the possible results of discerning. If you are only interested in doing what you want to do, and are not open to other possibilities, then discernment is not possible.

3. You must know what God is like.

4. You must be a person who prays.

He also mentions that a good discerner must be humble, charitable and have strong courage. Now to put that into practice.

About two years ago, I remember reading one of the books he recommends, Weeds Among the Wheat by Fr. Thomas H. Green. I'll have to go back to that.

I am a very impulsive person, and the thrill of doing something new and risky always gets my blood pulsing, in a good way. I become intoxicated with adrenaline, but I have to be careful that I don't interpret that adrenaline as a message from God, encouraging me to go ahead with (insert wild plans here). It is very likely that those feelings come from my a desire to serve my own selfish whims and go off on an adventure. It is easy for me to forget that I should use new opportunities and take risks in order to serve God.

At the very least, I should be finding ways to serve God while doing things that I already consider fantastic and exciting. Right?

Update: A good quote from He Leadeth Me, by Fr. Walter J. Ciszek, SJ:
God's will can be discerned by the fruits of the spirit it brings, that peace of soul and joy of heart are two such things, provided they follow upon total commitment and openness to God alone and are not founded on the self's desires. That the validity of the call can be tested - whether it be the call of a vocation or of some new departure within that vocation - by the movements of the soul that accompany it.

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