Last week I shared ten principles for prayer from one of my favorite books: Spiritual Direction: A Path to Spiritual Maturity by our former Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau. This week I thought I would continue with ten principles on discernment from the same book:
- Discernment is a prayerful process by which experiences are interpreted in faith.
- Discernment must deal with many voices seeking to capture our minds, hearts, and energies.
- Discernment is cultivated in listening love that allows one to hear the felt-experience of good and evil movements within oneself, others, and society.
- Discernment relies on two principles: Jesus and revelation.
- Discernment assumes that God is continually working in the depth of every individual and community.
- Discernment respects the nature of time and is willing to wait freely for a decision that has a need of clarification, detachment, and magnanimity.
- Discernment is a gift (grace) given to those who are properly disposed to receive it because of obedience and surrender.
- Discernment blends faith and pragmatism: it searches out God’s will in radical trust and does it.
- Discernment looks to its consequences for it authenticity: decisions are of God if ultimately they lead to life and love.
- Discernment leads to truth and, through truth, into freedom.
Discernment builds on prayer and brings it to the realm of action. These principles form a solid basis for a lived faith.
Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood