Posts Tagged ‘discernment’

Times of Discernment – Clarity

November 11, 2017

clear pathThere are moments in our lives when we are faced with a choice and we simply KNOW what we must do. There is a great clarity about what God is asking and we are freely able to respond because regardless of the consequences our path is clear.

St Paul’s conversion is a good biblical example – in a moment of clarity he was able to understand completely that God was calling him to change direction, and he responded. Perhaps you know more ordinary examples – people who experience ‘love at first sight’ marrying and remaining faithful throughout the whole of their lives to a single moment of clarity; people who have always had a certainty about a particular vocational choice, where even in spite of opposition or discouragement they have ‘known’ it was the right choice.

Some people may say that at these times discernment isn’t necessary – simply a decision. It may be more true to say that the discernment has already taken place in opening us up to God’s grace and enabling us to have the courage to respond freely and wholeheartedly.

The grace to trust and respond to God’s clear prompting comes through the daily opening up of our lives and the growth in trust that God is with me.

Challenge:

What have been the moments of clarity in my own life?

How can I grow in my ability to trust these moments and to act on them with confidence?

Discernment and Decision making – two good choices

November 8, 2017

DiscernmentHave you ever felt paralysed by a decision? Have you ever felt so aware of more than one really good possibility that it seems impossible to choose?

Although Ignatian discernment is so much more than simply a way to make decisions, the principles or guidelines inherent in an Ignatian understanding of discernment help us to understand the motivation behind our decisions and so to choose wisely.

In a few blog posts I am going to address some aspects of discernment in the Ignatian tradition and look at some of the ways in which we can cooperate or resist the action of God in our decisions.

Two Good Things

It seems obvious. St Ignatius reminds us that discernment only takes place between two or more GOOD things. We do not discern between something good and something bad. In fact our conscience should be alert enough to prompt us not to make a choice towards something which may lead us away from God.

This seems obvious, but in my experience it is often more subtle that in might at first seem. It presupposes an alert and attentive listening to our conscience. 

So the first step in discernment is that of waking our conscience… being aware of the ways we avoid issues, fail to be informed of the consequences of our choices, accept the status quo or even maybe take on attitudes and stances of the society in which we live without ever really questioning whether they are our values and attitudes.

Today’s challenge:

Recognise one area of my life in which I should try to become better informed before making judgement.

 

 

 

Times of Discernment – Clarity

November 24, 2015

clear pathThere are moments in our lives when we are faced with a choice and we simply KNOW what we must do. There is a great clarity about what God is asking and we are freely able to respond because regardless of the consequences our path is clear.

St Paul’s conversion is a good biblical example – in a moment of clarity he was able to understand completely that God was calling him to change direction, and he responded. Perhaps you know more ordinary examples – people who experience ‘love at first sight’ marrying and remaining faithful throughout the whole of their lives to a single moment of clarity; people who have always had a certainty about a particular vocational choice, where even in spite of opposition or discouragement they have ‘known’ it was the right choice.

Some people may say that at these times discernment isn’t necessary – simply a decision. It may be more true to say that the discernment has already taken place in opening us up to God’s grace and enabling us to have the courage to respond freely and wholeheartedly.

The grace to trust and respond to God’s clear prompting comes through the daily opening up of our lives and the growth in trust that God is with me.

Challenge:

What have been the moments of clarity in my own life?

How can I grow in my ability to trust these moments and to act on them with confidence?

Discernment and Decision making – two good choices

November 19, 2015

DiscernmentHave you ever felt paralysed by a decision? Have you ever felt so aware of more than one really good possibility that it seems impossible to choose?

Although Ignatian discernment is so much more than simply a way to make decisions, the principles or guidelines inherent in an Ignatian understanding of discernment help us to understand the motivation behind our decisions and so to choose wisely.

In a few blog posts I am going to address some aspects of discernment in the Ignatian tradition and look at some of the ways in which we can cooperate or resist the action of God in our decisions.

Two Good Things

It seems obvious. St Ignatius reminds us that discernment only takes place between two or more GOOD things. We do not discern between something good and something bad. In fact our conscience should be alert enough to prompt us not to make a choice towards something which may lead us away from God.

This seems obvious, but in my experience it is often more subtle that in might at first seem. It presupposes an alert and attentive listening to our conscience. 

So the first step in discernment is that of waking our conscience… being aware of the ways we avoid issues, fail to be informed of the consequences of our choices, accept the status quo or even maybe take on attitudes and stances of the society in which we live without ever really questioning whether they are our values and attitudes.

Today’s challenge:

Recognise one area of my life in which I should try to become better informed before making judgement.

 

 

 

The big decisions in life

June 28, 2014

pathIgnatian discernment is about a way of living that is attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Living out of an Ignatian spirituality invites us to reflection each day on the signs and glimpses of Gods action.
But discernment is also about the big decisions of our lives, and whilst we may in theory accept this, in my experience of working with young adults, it can be extremely difficult to entrust these big life changing decisions to scrutiny from our spiritual selves. We are happier trusting rational thought… and yet our lives are far from purely rational!

So how might we bring these two aspects of our lives together in order to be open to hear where God may be calling us?

There are many good resources available on this subject so I don’t intend saying anything lengthy, but I offer just a few points that may be of use;

1) FREEDOM, TRUTH, GRACE
Consider ‘do I honestly want to do what God desires for me, or have I a long list of preconditions?’
Now consider that again. Notice where my inclination lies. Acknowledge it. Ask God for light and grace to become more free.

2) HONESTY
Think about the external pressures there are on me. (the opinions of others, career pressure, expectations of self etc). Speak with God about these. Which ones are revealing truth and goodness to me? Which are false prophets?

3) COMMUNITY
Talk with someone outside the situation. Share with them what your heart, as well as your head, is saying.

4) ACTION
Choose. Don’t miss your life by waiting for certainty.

5) CONFIRMATION
Look for confirmation. Maybe a feeling of peace, or an opening of opportunity that comes when the decision is made…

6) TRUST
Don’t be afraid to be wrong! You are held in God’s love no matter what.

THE PROVINCE ASSEMBLY – ASIA-AUSTRALIA

December 29, 2013

We had a great first day today beginning with a beautiful opening ceremony.  Our sacred space incorporated the nativity scene which already spoke to us us one of the themes of our new Chapter Directions: “God is with us.”  We worked in “Base Groups” of seven or eight people.  Our groups became the place where we engaged in some initial sharing.  In the coming days our sharing will increase in depth and quality.  Our main task today was to bring the Chapter “to life” as the background to the work we will do on our Chapter Directions over the coming days.  We prayed for our whole Society and for all those we love and care about.  In fact, we prayed for our whole world!  We will keep on praying as our Assembly continues…

Exploring Ignatian Life

November 25, 2012

I have just returned from a weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland where I was running a workshop with Matthew Power SJ. Both Matthew and I are vocations directors for our respective provinces.

The workshop was called Exploring Ignatian Life and it was aimed at young adults who wanted to know more about Ignatian spirituality and ways in which people commit themselves to living it out.

We began with a reflection on St Ignatius – how he began to notice God’s action within his life and the different ways in which he responded as he grew in maturity of faith.

Then we spent time reflecting on our own lives, noticing the significant events and relationships through which we have experienced God in our lives. The sharing on this and the reflection was really enriching. I am always struck by the ways in which God acts directly within our lives, guiding us through events and circumstances to grow more and more into the person we are called to be.

Then we looked briefly at different ways in which Ignatian spirituality is lived out – religious brothers, sisters and priests, CLC as well as many other lay people who allow their lives to be profoundly influenced by the spirituality of St Ignatius.

Thanks to all who took part, and particular thanks to the Jesuit community in Edinburgh who welcomed us. What a wonderful group of  people!

FINAL VOWS – NARNI AND YUSTIN!

October 28, 2012

Later today, Sunday 28th October, Narni and Yustin will make their final vows as FCJs.  All of the FCJs in Yogyakarta will be there plus FCJs from other parts of the Province and some three hundred or so guests! This is going to be such a happy day for all of us…It is always such a joy when an FCJ makes vows, especially final vows.  May God bless Yustin and Narni will fidelity and joy as they take this momentous step and may they live long and fruitful lives as FCJs in service of God and God’s people.

LORD TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? YOU HAVE THE MESSAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE…

August 26, 2012

I am very struck by these words from today’s Gospel: John 6: 60-69.  We each need to discover how Jesus brings the message of eternal life to us in a personal way.  I personally love the scriptures as a rich source of “eternal life”…The Bible really is my favourite book of all time…There are the Sacraments also and, of course, my experience of God in prayer and indeed in daily life.  How blessed we are to receive “the message of eternal life” in so many ways…I wonder how others discover God’s message for them…

AN HISTORIC MEETING OF NEWER FCJS!

July 24, 2012

For the next two weeks or so our Generalate is playing host to a large group of FCJs from around the world.  Apart from building a strong sense of internationality and companionship this meeting includes “workshops” on a variety of issues relevant to today’s world, for example: how to live the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience in today’s context.  Hopefully all those who attend the meeting will be confirmed and strengthened in their call as FCJs.