Lord, we pray for those we love, who are seeking their direction in life. Help us to know when to listen and when to speak. Help us to balance giving our opinion and letting experience be the primary teacher. Grant us the wisdom to know when to hold on and when to let go. Ultimately we pray that our loved ones listen to your call and recognize the signs in their lives and the people directing them on the right path.
–The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!
“Those who love your law have great peace, and for them there is no stumbling block.” (Psalm 119)
Discernment, in spiritual terms, means nothing short of deciphering the will of God in our lives. As tricky as that may sound, we often complicate the matter further by confusing the will of God with our own will and allowing personal desires to trump a sincere imitation of Christ Our Lord. But there is help.
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius help to put us on guard against the confusing and conflicting spirits that influence our decisions. Free from them, we can better listen to the Holy Spirit and recognize what paths of action will truly be toward the glory of God. Distinguishing right from wrong is no easy task, but it is key to our development as Christians as we seek and love what is true and good. When we have sufficiently removed the sinful influences in our lives, then we can begin listening with confidence for the subtle voice of the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, Saint Ignatius encourages us to make decisions, not just toward the glory of God, but toward God’s GREATER glory. This may seem like a trivial distinction but it is far from it. Ignatius explains that no real discernment can be made between God’s will and a sin. What is to discern? The sin is absolutely forbidden and so we are free to fully embrace sin’s alternative. Discernment can only be at the level of choosing between two right courses of action, and we are encouraged to choose that which is the greater of the two, that which is toward God’s greater glory.
Confident that God’s grace is available to us, we embrace His law in a spirit of obedience which can only come from a love and imitation of Christ. And so, through discernment, we remember to seek that peace of Christ that comes with obedience and the constant yearning to be lead by the Spirit. May all that we intend, do and say be toward the greater glory of God.
—Fr. John Brown, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!
Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, yet I do not swerve from your decrees.
The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.
Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words.
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I fulfill your commandments.
I keep your precepts and decrees, for all my ways are before you.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations/ ).
Please share the Good Word with your friends!