Discerning Advent

I have just recently discovered this webblog and want to pass it along. The Ignatian steps in discernment are especially helpful in making important decisions. Blogger Andy Otto lists these exercises for discerning the best path:

  • Logical: Draw up a list of pros and cons for each choice and see which one seems to make more sense logically.

  • Imagine: Place yourself before God or Jesus and tell him you’ve made one decision over the other. How does he react? What does he say? Separately, do the same with the other choice.

  • Gut: Picture yourself committing to one decision. What feelings arise? Make a note of these and then do the same with the other choice.

  • Pretend: Try living with one of the choices for a few days, as if you’ve really committed to it mentally. Note in a journal how it was. Then go another few days as if you’ve committed to the other choice.

I have tried each of these at one time or another and can attest to their effectiveness. There’s only one additional step I often take in making important decisions. Since I often feel ambivalence in many of my most important decisions, I try always to pray a prayer that goes something like this:

‘Heavenly Father, I know that You love  me and want only those things for me that are good and that bring me closer to You. Please take the outcome of this current situation (and I name it) into Your care. If it is good and a path that You will bless, please give me certainty and confidence in Your will. If it is not a way You would choose for me at this time, please sweep away all possibility of its happening so that I will have no lingering doubt or care.

I love you, Father, and want only to do You will. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.’

God In All Things

“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
(Luke 1:28)

We know God desires to shine a light into our world and into our hearts. There’s hope, somewhere. Through the darkness a light begins to shine. Thomas Merton describes this glimmer of hope:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by…

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