“Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?” Our first reading from the Book of Wisdom (9:13-18b) helps us realize how difficult it is to know God’s will in our lives. After my personal conversion to Christ, I began to seriously try to figure out how to come to know God’s will for me in my life. I asked a priest about this. He said that it has to be discerned and that it is unique to each individual. As far as I could remember, this is the first time I had even heard of the word “discernment,” even though I was about twenty-three years old at the time. It took me about four years to learn about discernment, how it works, and how to apply it in my life.
My first year in the seminary, I had a fundamental moral theology class. To my surprise, our professor required all of us to write a paper on discernment. Apparently, he considered this to be a very important topic. If it is so important, then why did I not hear of it until I was twenty three years old? I received a good grade on my paper, so I decided to provide you with a copy of it as an insert to this week’s bulletin. It is an important enough topic for every Christian to learn about it and to implement it in their lives since discernment is essentially Christian decision making. Every Christian should learn about it starting at the age of reason. This is when are given the aptitude to know God’s counsel or to conceive what the Lord intends.
The process of discernment includes doing the prerequisites (the person to have the desire, ability, and determination to do only God’s will), knowing clearly what you want to decide, gather information, obtain counsel, reflect on the pros and cons of each possible alternative, bring thisto prayer which includesimagining yourself taking that action or in that position to see if it seems to fit you, make a decision, live with the decision as you seek confirmation, act on the decision if you receive the confirmation or at least not the objection of legitimate authority and see if God blesses it. Yes, this is a human process but it is the way in which God communicates to the individual.
As our first reading concluded, “Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus, were the paths of those on earth made straight.”