Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Discernment: Time for prayer

"Decision making is not always a crisis but is always a growth-filled process."

That's how a short article about discernment describes decision making. Although the term "discernment" is relatively new to me, it seems straightforward enough:

1. "The first is the awareness that an important decision needs to be made. It’s essential to be alert to the prompting of the Spirit"

2. "[make] a mental list or jot down the pros and cons of the various options"

3. "possible consequences for each option"

4. "check it out with a mentor, family member, trusted friend, or 'wisdom' friend who has gone through a similar life experience."

5. "taking action!"

Finally, when the decision is made and acted upon, a sense of true peace will prevail over you. Peace is the ultimate gift of a good decision - a peace no one can take from you.

Sounds easy? I don't have experience with this being an easy process... :p

While browsing the Pontificator's blog, I found an article by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus (a former Lutheran convert to the Catholic Faith), on why The Church "will never invoke her full authority to require anyone to believe what is false". He wrote about why he does not fear the Church to misuse her authority and use her claim to infallibility to deliberately mislead and teach fallibly. I quote,

To be obsessed with what ifs is to remain captive to fear. The apostle John tells us that "perfect love casts out fear." One finally makes a decision based either on fear and suspicion or on love and trust. It is true that by taking the first way one may avoid a great error; but, if the decision is wrong, one has suffered the loss of an immeasurably greater good. With respect to the big decisions of life, we each choose our own form of risk…
I can't believe my eyes when I saw this (well.. I should have known better; in Him anything is possible!); this is a key insight in my own process of discernment... I have been thinking and praying (and getting needlessly frustrated), but this differentiation of the source of a decision (fear vs. trust) has so far been buried in my list of pros and cons.

As we open up ourselves to joy and transformation in this Lenten season, I ask anyone who's reading this to please pray for me so that God's will be revealed, be mine, and be done. Thanks.

1 comment:

Bravo said...

Dear Antonia,

It is with interest that I read your discernment blog, as I had last month had also question into this area. And yes it is indeed quite true that fear, love and trust will come into play in our decision making. I therefore would like to share with you an article column The Art of Discernment written by Fr Fio Mascarenhas a Jesuit priest in Bombay (I think he wrote a book on discernment).
His other related articles on Discernment are “Discernment and the Cross” and “Spiritual Direction”. Hope they help you.

There are many interesting articles in for you to read in time.

As I today as I asked the Holy Spirit to show me the sins in my life. I ask the same Holy Spirit to reveal to you in His time what He has in plan to call you to. Keep alert… stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

Lastly, I leave you with a short prayer:

A Prayer for Discernment
All-highest, glorious God,
cast your light
into the darkness of my heart.
Give me right faith,
firm hope,
perfect charity
and profound humility
with wisdom and perception, O Lord,
so that I may do what is truly your holy will.
(St Francis of Assisi)