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Posted August 2, 2005

The Ten Guiding Principles of Discernment

Taken from The Art of Discernment – Posted on our website

1. Stay in touch with reality and what is really going on. Pay attention to its concrete aspects, even to the small things.

2. Develop an appropriate internal sense of timing. Do not act in too much haste, but do not drag out decisions either. Accept external time pressure as well as huge delays with prudence. Break down your decision-making process into steps and put them on a realistic timetable.

3. Place your thoughts and plans before the critical eyes of yours friends. Seek the advice of prudent people. Examine your alternatives by testing them against experience.

4. Listen to what your mind, your heart, and your intuition tell you. Make sure all three of these voices from your soul are part of the final discernment.

5. Be aware that the “evil spirit” often intends to make the decision more complicated than it actually is. He uses fear. Seek trust and simplicity.

6. Do not make a decision when you are immersed in a crisis. In everything, look for the greater degree of consolation and the greater amount of fruitfulness. Follow your desires. Be radical.

7. Know your limits; accept and observe them. Do not seek the cross, but be prepared to accept it out of love if God wants you to. God’s will does not come to us in the guise of something alien, but reveals itself through the desires of your heart, in the consolation and in the fruit.

8. Mourn the possibilities you ignored as well as the opportunities you missed. Your life is a path of letting go and dying. If you accept life to be this way, you will be able to commit to relationships more easily and become more content.

9. Jesus should be the norm. The primordial image and the “shape and form” of our lives and decisions.

10. Once we are involved in the process of making a decision, we will reach a point where “the Gordian Knot” must be cut. We must accept the risks and let go. One’s fundamental trust in life, in fellow humanity, and in God will help throughout the process.