I know that we’ve talked about discernment as making spiritual (i.e. prayer-led) decisions in your life. I’d like us to take a step back and reflect on a more inclusive-and basic and foundational– understanding of discernment.

Discernment is not just about making particular life-changing decisions in our lives. Discernment is about choosing God, despite the difficulties. About choosing Hope, despite seeming hopelessness. About finding Love, despite the seeming lack of love in the world. It is a way of looking at life and the world: a paradigm.

When we are in consolation, when we are on retreat, when we are happy, it’s much easier to find God. But when we are in desolation–when we are suffering, when a relative is about to die of cancer or COVID, when we are about to fail a subject, when we just broke up with a cheating boyfriend or husband, when we are desperately discouraged–it’s way more difficult to find God. The absence is deafening and brings us to our knees and at the end of our rope.

But that’s when the real invitation of discernment kicks in. To be in the middle of seeming desolation and search for a seemingly absent God and hold on to HOPE, that is when discernment is needed: discerning God in ALL THINGS–in the highest of highs, yes, but also in the lowest of lows.

Discernment, in the end, is about searching for God, and finding Him. When we find Him, everything else falls into place. As trite as it sounds, the Gospels would say, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and everything else will be added unto you.” Which is really another version of Arrupe telling us, “Nothing is more practical than finding God.” It is the most practical thing because finding Him brings peace. Even in the lowest of lows. Maybe specially in the lowest of lows.

So discernment is a mode of being. You don’t just do discernment, like it’s something you do once or twice or during really important moments in your life. You become a discerning person. The actual doing of discernment is secondary to the becoming of the person into someone who constantly discerns, constantly asks, constantly reflects.

Find God in all things. And discernment will happen naturally.

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