Last week, we talked about Ignatian prayer. Prayer fires us for action. It is where we are nourished, renewed, strengthened, and readied for mission. Ignatian spirituality offers us tools to help know where and how to bring the fruit of our prayer out into the world. Let’s take a brief look at what I feel is one of the best kept secrets in our faith– Ignatius’ discernment wisdom.
Bit of Ignatian Wisdom #8: Discernment Wisdom
In a weekly reflection, I do not have the space to go into depth about the brilliance of Ignatian discernment. Here are a few key points I want to highlight though:
- We each have a unique call. God gives us each unique, concrete ways to build the kingdom. This includes our vocational call such as single or married, ordained, or religious life. It also includes various ways we use our gifts in the world.
- God speaks to us about our call through the desires of the heart. We understand our unique calls through the deep desires of our heart that well up during our prayer time.
- We each have God given gifts. We are prepared to respond to the desires in our heart by using the gifts God gives us. God will give us not only the gifts, but also the means and opportunities to use these gifts.
- We have free will. Each of us has free will. We can choose to act on the desires of our heart or not.
How do we discern?
I boil discernment down to the question, “What is the next right step God is asking me to take?” Ignatian discernment wisdom invites us to answer this question not on sheer will alone, but to bring this to prayer and invite God to walk with us through a discernment process, which I name as:
- Pray: We take the decision we are seeking to make to prayer and ask for God’s guidance.
- Gather Data: We gather all the information we possibly can on the choices we are picking between. This includes gathering the “nuts and bolts” and facts of a decision, but also includes gathering the emotional information in the form of consolation and desolation. As we gather information, we bring it to prayer and ask God to show us where we feel more of an increase of faith, hope and love, and where we feel less.
- Come to a decision: Once we feel we can, we make a decision and internally commit to a choice. We wait and let God affirm this in prayer.
- Act: When we know the next right step, we act on it.
As we talked about a few weeks ago, being a contemplative in action means being a person of prayer who lives out in the world. We always first start with getting to know the one who calls (through prayer) before we can understand our call (discernment).
- Chapter 9 of my book covers discernment in a bit more detail
- For an in-depth look at discernment, though, I recommend Mark Thibodeaux’s book, God’s Voice Within: The Ignatian Way to Discover God’s Will
- The Ignatian Way Series #6: What is Discernment?
Online Busy Person’s Retreat:
“I knew I wanted to give God more of time, but I felt so crazy that I couldn’t spend a weekend away at a retreat. During the online busy person’s I created habits that not only strengthen my relationship with God, but helped me gain peacefulness through that relationship.”
~Rebecca, May 2017 Online Busy Person’s Retreat
Time to register for the October 2nd-5th retreat is running out! Register today to deepen your relationship with God and to experience the gift of being accompanied by a spiritual director on your faith journey.
Who is the Author of My Life? Women’s Day of Reflection: October 18, 2017
Spend a day with other women in fellowship, prayer, and reflection as we seek to place God as the author of our life. Offered in conjunction with the Diocese of Baton Rouge Office of Evangelization & Catechesis.
For more information and to register go here!
Cultivating Space for God Together: Fall 2017
- September 20, 2017: First United Methodist Church Ministry for Women
- September 21, 2017: St. George Parish’s Book Club
- October 10, 2017: Women’s ALIVE event at St. Robert Newminister Parish, Ada, MI
- October 11, 2017: Parish Staff Day of Reflection for St. Robert Newminister Parish, Ada, MI
- November 16, 2017: Women in Spirit, St. Joseph’s Cathedral
- November 28, 2017: Loyola Institute for Ministry Webinar
- December 5, 2017: Advent Evening of Reflection, St. Thomas More Parish
- December 13, 2017: Women’s Advent Evening of Reflection
- December 17, 2017: “Spirituality for a Busy Person“, St. Margaret Parish, Albany, LA