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Answering The Call: Discernment An Integrative Way of Proceeding

Updated: Feb 2

Where am I called?

In fulfilling our mission we look to what will be of the greatest service and where we feel most alive.

In the field of cognitive research, psychologists and neuroscientists are offering insights into our inner landscape as never before, especially on how our associated memory and subconscious operate when it comes to making decisions. We have a conformational bias, in that we will look for reasons to move ahead based upon what we already wanted while ignoring, even self-evident, reasons not to.

To address that concern, there are a variety of decision-making tools and techniques to use, in addition to the multiple ways to view the process as either directive, analytical, conceptual, and behavioral. Which one to use? Which one fits my personality?

One definition of the discernment is the ability to separate what is important from what is not – irrelevant or misleading. It is both a skill and a methodology. In decision-making, we ask, "Is this option more consistent with who I am?”

The Lasallian and Ignatian discernment way adds, Where am I called to be of greatest service for others?”

An Integrative Way of Proceeding - Discernment

An Ignatian way for decision-making is integrative since it takes into account the head and heart. It is deciding between several ‘good’ options, in knowing what we are good at and love to do, while seeking to achieve self-knowledge and greater freedom.

We are invited to reflect on the matter, noticing the interplay of reason, affect and experience in our decision-making process. We sift through our thoughts and feelings, while using reason to carefully weigh the pros and cons, facts and factors and how such a decision matches with our values.

When the head and heart align - harmonize, we will feel enlivened and generally at peace. When experience what Ignatius called consolation, it is an indication we may proceed with that decision.

It requires a discipline of contemplation.

We each have a unique gift and call that no one else can fill.

In looking back at past decisions seemed to be a fit - what was that moment? that final moment when you realized something was just for you. Remember it, savor it and look for it again.


PRELUDE: Seek your better self for inner freedom - by practicing the daily Examen

o Address inordinate desires, and rearrange disordered priorities


o List all facts (+) and (–) for each option

o Gain outside advice


o Look for inner clarity

o Listen for those inner movements leading towards consolation - sense of peace, a contentment. This is where God is leading you.

o If having inner conflict

DESIRES - look deep within for those inner desires, cherish them, then gently put them aside.

o Set aside your preferences (attachments) -such allows you to become 'indifferent' to them. Also put aside the should of's, could of's, or would of's.

o Now let God take the lead.

3. HARMONY - Listening within the heart.

o Imagine the two outcomes – DREAM - spend time in imagination.

Listen for those inner movements leading towards consolation - God's loving tug

o When harmony between head and heart aligns = Chose that one - It is where you feel most alive!


o If still neutral, or no indication

o Go with the greater option - align with your VALUES - Best Judgement


o Seek a confirmation in a revisit