The Art of Choosing Well by Pierre Wolff

Discernment is defined to be the act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment. Interestingly, the bible is rife with accounts and teachings how important discernment is to the people of God. Apostles, for example, were witnesses how Holy Spirit gave them the gift of discernment in the New Testament. The action of the apostles of continuing what Jesus told them to do was discernment in itself; discernment in action, that is. “Discernment can be defined to be the calling on the Holy Spirit to lead or give direction on a matter,” says Spirithome.com.
Moreover, Jesus Christ himself was a discernment personified. In Luke 11:9 he says to His people, “So I say t you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. ” The words alone are an encouragement that people always have the good judgment of everything, and that in their judgment blessings await. Author Pierre Wolff in his book The Art of Choosing Well talks about this very thing – discernment. Wolff presents the ways of choosing and deciding wisely rooted in the different works of St.
Ignatius of Loyola. Seeking God, St. Ignatius believed, is not meant to wait for visions, but had to seek Him in an intelligent and humble way and then by His grace and time, everything will be given and answered. Moreover, Wolff never fails to be practical and at the same time simple. He stresses different basic principles applicable to contemporary people, such as taking adequate time to listen to both your heart and mind, and clarify your most innermost held values.

Although his teachings rooted in the Catholic-based faith, this, however, can be applicable to people of different faith (or lack thereof). Discernment or decision-making, to begin with, is a universal trait necessary for us as we deal our life. There are so many things to put to consider when discerning about something. In 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3, discernment is characterized to be governed by love, for it is not, it’s worthless. 1 Corinthians 12-3 is bolder in its emphasis of Christ, discernment “centers us onto Jesus the Christ and Lord, and His good news.”
But Ephesians 4:11-12 is more general and more empowering; discernment it says “builds up the church and its members, giving it power, wisdom, character, boldness, and unity. Other people sometimes mixed up their decisions with their own veiled interests. Wolff summarizes some of St. Ignatius works to know if we are truly discerning the right things thus: We must desire to do God’s will, open to God at the moment of discerning, know what God is like, and we must be a person who prays.
Furthermore, there are three ways of making a choice: Revelation (or God is speaking to you), Reasoning (Weighing the pros and cons of our choices and putting yourself on someone’s shoes to be able to know better the right thing), Discernment (or the time where “much light and understanding are derived through experience,” says Ignatius. ) True enough, discernment is more than just a skill and process. It is a gift from God, from the Holy Spirit… and this can be acquired and developed through asking God and continuing it through training and experience.
Growing in discernment is a challenge for everyone. And the price is a peace of mind. To grow in discernment requires everyone to work on it like prayer; to know deeply what’s inside our thoughts – if it’s God’s or if it’s not. One way of nurturing it is through Daily Consciousness Examen, which is recommended by the Church. This basically can be done through asking the Holy Spirit to guide you always, to look back on your day and recognize the blessings God has given you, asking God to teach you, and asking yourself if you’re acting what the Lord told you to do.

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