Practising Discernment

Practising Discernment

pd2Thirty four local leaders have committed to connecting more regularly in 2016; gathering with other leaders one month and reflecting one to one with a Soul Action team member the month that follows, and so on…

At February’s gathering Rachel invited leaders to consider their aims for 2016, after which Phil encouraged them to “be ruthless” in ruling out aims which lead away from God, and rather choose what draws them towards what God is calling them to do.

Phil explained how a friend had been encouraging him to consider Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s (1491-1556) approach to decision making. For ‘Ignatians’ discernment involves two key components consolation and desolation. Phil asked leaders which direction their life decisions were taking them: towards God [consolation] or away [desolation]?

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Desolation turns us in on ourselves, cuts us off from community, covers up all our landmarks, makes us want to give up on things that used to be important to us, drains our energy drives us spiralling down into ever deeper negative feelings and crowds out distant vision.

Consolation directs our focus beyond ourselves, lifts our hearts to see the joys and sorrows of other people, bonds us more closely to our human community, restores balance and refreshes our inner vision, generates new inspiration and ideas, releases new energy in us, shows us where God is active in our lives and where he is leading us (for more on this see Margaret Silf’s book, The Inner Compass, Loyola Press).

Act: Take time this month to reflect on whether your decisions are leading you towards or away from God?


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