Fr. Chris' Article - November 17, 2019
Nov 14, 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“Discernment.” It is a word that we hear bandied about quite a bit in Church circles, especially under this current pontificate of Pope Francis. In a way, this is understandable and in a sense expected, as he is a Jesuit priest originally. Jesuits are often versed in the so-called ‘rules of discernment’ codified by their Spanish founder, St. Ignatius Loyola, in the 16th century.
So what does discernment entail? I have the sense that most people today would have the opinion that it means simply ‘thinking a lot about it’, or ‘whatever you feel moved to do.’ However, real and honest spiritual discernment involves so much more than this.
First of all, it implies actually showing up in prayer and bringing real issues in our lives to prayer. It also involves being honest and receptive to what comes to us in prayer. I could go into a great deal of detail with regards to the various rules for discernment of St. Ignatius, or even list them, but it is helpful to have someone very well versed in them and able to explain them walk one through them.
Many folks (and I myself for many years) are admittedly clueless as to where to start with prayer. They often wonder “How do I do it right?” or “How do I know whether it is God telling me something or whether it’s me or ‘someone else’? What do I do when prayer is difficult, dry, or otherwise daunting?
To this end, I very much want to recommend a lecture series to you entitled “Discernment of Spirits” by Fr. Timothy Gallagher. It is available on our parish’s Formed.org account! Please just do a search for it on the Formed app and start the process of broadening and deepening your spiritual life. I guarantee that if you begin looking into these, you won’t regret it. Prayer is the beginning of everything for us, and it is the fuel that propels us toward God and the bond that keeps us tied to Him. Please learn how to make that as strong and as potent as possible!
Praised be Jesus Christ,