What discernment is NOT…

What is discernment and why is it important?

discernindictionary2compressIn this blog, we’re talking about discernment in the Catholic spiritual tradition, which is a specific meaning different from the typical dictionary definition—“making a good judgment,” or “distinguishing between good and bad.” Discernment takes on its true importance when we understand what it is and what it is not. Discernment is not:

  • Making a decision
  • Magically becoming 100% sure of what God wants
  • Receiving visions or hearing voices from God
  • Rationally deciding what’s best to do
  • Knowing God’s entire plan for my life
  • Judging right from wrong*

*Note: God, who is all-good, can never desire evil; God can never desire that we do something that is wrong. If we are truly discerning, then we are deciding/choosing between two (or more) good things. If something is morally wrong, we may struggle with what to do, but we are making a moral judgment or choice, not a discernment.

So, what is discernment?

Choose the best definition of discernment.

Discernment is…

a) a search for the will of God

b) the art of communication between God and us, the art of reciprocal understanding

c) the art of living in the Holy Spirit

d) the art of entering into a free relationship with all that exists

Which definition did you choose?

In my next post, I will share my favorite definition of discernment!

Discernment Tip:

Turn your favorite definition of discernment into a prayer, and carry that prayer with you through the day (e.g., if your favorite definition is “Seeking the will of God,” then make this your prayer today: “Lord, help me to seek Your will”).


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