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Discernment
Sunday, March 25 2012

Knowing the Way...

Knowing what direction to go in our lives is often one of the most difficult aspects of our faith:

"And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God." -Philippians 1:9-11, NAB

During this time of Lent, we have an excellent opportunity to evaluate our lives and our direction.  Are we following the path He has chosen for us?  Are we letting the Holy Spirit guide us, or are we trying to find our own way?  Lent is a season of penance, but penance is not complete unless we start to make a change in our lives.  It begins with discernment.

Spiritual discernment is the act of trying to comprehend God's Will for your life.  Not an easy task, but it begins with prayer.  If we are trying to make decisions on our own, the noise of this world will make it hard for us to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying, but through prayer, we can quiet our mind and begin to listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling us.

Discernment is about more than the big decisions in life.  While we definitely need to turn to God for the big decisions, we should also consult Him on the small ones.  Often times, we focus solely on the larger decisions in life, but then we fail to recognize that it is a number of small decisions that will usually get us to our destination.  The path to righteousness is not one giant leap, but a series of small steps along the way.

How do you know that you are on the right path?  Once again, we have to listen for the Holy Spirit, but it may not always be so obvious.  The Holy Spirit is not going to rent out billboards along the highway to tell you that you're doing the right thing.  Instead, He will give you smaller affirmations along the way to tell you that you're doing the right thing.

Does your life need to change direction?  Are you beginning to realize that God is calling you to something more?  Good.  That is the first step towards a new direction.  Now that you're realizing that it is time for a change, it's time to start making a change.  Take that next step - pray.  When you think that you've prayed enough, pray some more.  Eventually, you'll start to see God's Will for your life a little more clearly.

 

A little added bonus...

Recently, I finished a book called God's Voice Within: The Ignatian Way to Discover God's Will by Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ.  It's an excellent book published by Loyola Press (who are some very wonderful people).  As someone inspired by the life of St. Ignatius, it drew me in instantly.  If you are looking for a great resource to begin discerning God's Will for your life, this is an excellent place to start.

 

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