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Friday, February 29, 2008

A book based on Ignatian spirituality, which makes clear some important steps in discernment. Wolff defines discernment in the following way: "influenced by our values, we work with our intellect and our affectivity in order to determine, in time, our decision." The Latin verb which is the root of "discern" means "to separate, to distinguish accurately one object from another." He addresses how an individual can make a decision - with both one's head and one's heart. He also talks about how individuals who know this process and are experienced with it can also come together for group discernment, but is clear that discernment is in an altogether different category from a group decision.

One idea which was new to me is the idea of separation. There's a story about Ignatius and his companions seeking a consensus about becoming an order or not. After a number of days of prayer, they came together and each was asked to talk about if they were an outsider what they would believe. This is a challenge to do, but can be a very helpful toward objectivity. Ignatius also talked about indifference. Not in the modern usage, meaning not caring about anything - but in the sense that if one were standing at a fork in the road, one could go either way. If one want so discern about a decision, and are already drawn to one so much that any arguments or feelings toward the other would be ignored, it's not really a discernment. Wolff encourages us that we can learn how to better listen to ourselves, both our logic and our emotions, and we can also learn how to listen to God and to seek His way. In so doing, what we choose can be both what we want and what He wants.

Title:Discernment: The Art of Choosing Well
Author: Pierre Wolff
Date published:1993
Genre: Spirituality
Number of pages: 138
Notes: from Diane


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