This site is a resource for DISCERNMENT in the Spirit within the context of a praying community. The resources are developed from Catholic Tradition and Ignatian spirituality as well as the communal discernment practices of the Society of Friends (Quakers). The series of articles may help to sharpen your listening and aid your seeking. These resources have been helpful to me. May they lead you back to your most authentic self, to the Living God, and to one another.
Under the tab DISCERNING TOGETHER you will find eight articles that represent skills in developing the discipline of COMMUNAL DISCERNMENT. There are practices and group reflection questions at the end of each article if you wish to study and practice as a group or individually. These articles may serve as an introduction and supplement to the study of Spiritual Discernment on the next tab over.
Under the tab SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT 101 you will find a cartoon development of the Ignatian RULES OF DISCERNMENT from his Spiritual Exercises as well as some other wisdom from Catholic tradition regarding DISCERMENT OF SPIRITS and DECISION-MAKING. The Rules of Discernment were originally meant for the “expert” spiritual directors who would help others to sort through the interior movements of the spirit while on an intensive retreat. They still work best if there are wisdom people in our lives to help keep us honest, and sort through the ups and downs of the interior life. [This cartoon section is still under construction and the author is interested in feedback.]
To discern is to listen, to choose, and to act. It is not only a matter of seeking God, but doing as God does: Love. Everyday I have to choose anew because I am human. Life is that easy and that complicated. But the grace is made more accessible to me in community. It is too easy to lose my way in the labyrinth of my own thoughts and feelings. Gathering with others to listen in the silence for the movements the Spirit can be a powerful expression of faith, hope and love
Seeking God, the True, the Beautiful and the Good, has marked my whole life. When I was young the awe came in the art and architecture dedicated to the glory of God, though it took many years to associate the Person of God with all that Beauty. The Christian and largely Catholic expressions of faith in the Europe of my youth fed my imagination with heroic and gruesome stories as well as wonder. The yearning of my heart was to know the inspiration behind the scenes. I always imagined a door ajar with the light on the other side glowing in the darkness.
Through inspiring liturgy and stories of the saints, I eventually connected with the story of Jesus Christ, the whole story: the life, passion, death and resurrection. I wanted my life to be holy, that is, I wanted to be close to God, of whom Goodness, Beauty and Truth are only a dim reflection. I hoped this even as my life often felt decidedly messy and confused. This Person of Christ finally helped me to put EVERYTHING into the one story. No one falls out of this living expression of COMPASSION. Everything belongs. Everyone belongs. There is nothing outside the mercy of this God who was and continues to be revealed in Jesus through his Spirit. So I listen… and my listening is sharpened when I am in community.