Guidance for Hearing God’s Call
What is Discernment?
Discernment is a model of Christian decision making discovered by St. Ignatius of Loyola through his own human experience and desire to do God’s will. This process invites us to use our ability to think, imagine and feel. This is how God speaks to us. The goal of any discernment is to pay attention to our thoughts, feelings and imagination and to notice what they seem to be saying to us.
How Does Discernment Differ from Making a Decision?
|Act of weighing the facts to see which
choice is most reasonable, practical and convenient; it is a rational exercise.
|Act of listening to your deepest self, to others,
and to God to see where you are.
|Something you go for.
||Something God moves you to go for.
|You choose now and go ahead.
||You listen carefully and are moved forward.
|A choice about what you'll DO.
||A process about who you choose to BE.
Presuppositions for Discernment
As we begin any discernment process, it is crucial that we come before God as people of prayer.
We know that God’s desire for us is that we be healthy, happy, holy people. The deepest desires of our hearts let us know what is most meaningful for us in life.
You may be wondering what personal qualities you need to bring to such discernment. The most important qualities are the ability to be honest with yourself, openness, and a lot of inner freedom.
It is important to realize that we need others to help us in this process because they may hear what we can’t and see what we have missed.
Discernment Made Simple
The steps in your discernment process can be simply described as follows:
· Discover yourself—your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, gifts and talents.
· Know your image of God and pray often during the process.
· Consider the pros and cons of the choice.
· Discuss the choice with others whom you respect and trust.
· Imagine yourself in the choice now…five years from now…10 years from now.
· Pay attention to your feelings throughout the process.
· Make the choice and know it is YOUR choice.
· Experience peace in your choice.