What is Discernment?

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What is Discernment?

Discernment is rooted in the understanding that God is ever at work in our lives — inviting, directing, guiding, drawing us into the fullness of life. Its central action is reflection on the ordinary events of our lives. It seeks to discover God’s presence in these moments and to follow the direction and guidance God gives us through grace. It is not the events themselves that are of interest, but rather the affective responses they evoke in us — feelings of joy, sorrow, peace, anxiety and all the indefinable ’somethings’ that arise and stir within us. It is precisely here that through faith we can discover God’s direction and guidance in our lives.

The process of discernment presupposes several things — that you:

  • can reflect on the ordinary events of your life;
  • can describe what you experience;
  • have a habit of personal prayer;
  • know yourself;
  • know your deepest desires; and
  • are open to God and God’s direction.

Excerpt from “Responding to God’s Love: understanding the discernment process” by Charles J. Jackson, SJ