Praised be Jesus as Mary!
In Weeds among the Wheat: Discernment, Where Prayer and Action Meet, Thomas H. Green, SJ presents the meaning and mechanics of discernment in three parts: Preparing the Soil, Sowing the Good Seed, and A Mixed Harvest. This time we shall discuss about Sowing The Good Seed.
Discernment, according to Siri, is… (chuckle)
Meanwhile, discernment, according to St. Ignatius, is only when much light and understanding is derived through the experience of desolations and consolations and the discernment of diverse spirits***. After we make our decisions using rational* or imaginative** methods, we come back to prayer and present the choices we have made for the Lord to accept and confirm if it is for His greater service and praise. This is the only way to discernment proper.
There is consolation when there is peace in the Lord, which leads to increased faith, hope, and love, and all interior joy that brings us closer to God. These are religious feelings that are essential to our discovery of God’s will. But, we must be careful because some feelings are treacherous and cannot be trusted blindly.
On the other hand, there is desolation when there is loss of peace. This is from the emotional turmoil of the spirit which leads to lack of faith, hope and love. Remember what St. Ignatius said, “In time of desolation we should never make any change but remain firm, and constant in the resolution which guided us the day before the desolation, or in the decision to which we adhered in the preceding consolation.” Desolation comes from the devil and separates us from the Lord. We must never follow him. We persevere in patience and do the opposite of what the evil inspires us to do. The Lord will do everything possible to encourage our souls to persevere if we are truly committed to him. Consolation will soon return.
In discernment, it is normal to experience desolation. It does not mean that God hates us. God permits it, but does not cause it. If you look at the story of Job (Job 1:6-12, Job 2:4-6), we see that in some obscure way, it proves Job’s love and fidelity. Tomorrow, I will write about the next three chapters under the last part, A Mixed Harvest.
Kristine G. Veneracion
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Weeds among the Wheat by Thomas H. Green, SJ
Job 1:6-12, Job 2:4-6
Definition of Terms:
*rational method – to ponder every aspect of the question and enumerating the advantages and disadvantages of the decision.
**imaginative method – (1) to consider what we would have advised another person faced with the same dilemma, or (2) to imagine what decision we would have chosen if we were on our deathbeds.
***diverse spirits – St. Ignatius refer to these as “good spirit or the Holy Spirit” and “evil sprit or the devil.”