Discernment: How Do I Discern?



Discernment does not seem to come naturally to a lot of people. We make decisions all the time based on the moment’s emotion, sensory overload, pressure from others, whatever seems easiest, and so on. For major decisions, we apply more reason and search the heart a bit more, and probably ask others for advice.

Like any other personal quality or virtue, discernment can be developed through intention and practice. A first step is to look at your past decisions and ask a couple of questions:

• What factors do I rely on most when making a decision—how I feel, what makes the most sense, what is most positive financially?

• What factors do I tend not to include when I’m in discernment mode—intuition, spiritual aspects of the situation, advice from people I consider wise, my general direction or personal mission?

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me become more conscious of how I make decisions.


from “small simple ways: an Ignatian daybook for healthy spiritual living” by Vinita Hampton Wright, Loyola Press