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St. Ignatius' Story of Discernment
Transcript of St. Ignatius' Story of Discernment
St. Ignatius' Story
In a battle in Pamplona, Spain, in 1521,
a cannonball struck his leg causing serious injury.
Ignatius' recovery at his sister's castle was long and intense.
There were only two books for him to read:
Reading these books had a profound impact on his life.
Ignatius, born 1491,
came from a wealthy Basque family in Spain.
He was a soldier and a known womanizer.
Ignatius began to notice the difference within him as he allowed himself to daydream about his life.
When Ignatius daydreamed about being a soldier and pursuing women,
he noticed that his feelings of excitement and joy were short-lived.
However, when Ignatius daydreamed about committing his life to Christ, going to Jerusalem, and living as the saints lived,
he noticed that the feelings of peace and joy lasted much longer.
"When he thought of worldly matters, he found much delight; but after growing weary and dismissing them, he found that he was dry and unhappy. But when he thought of going barefoot to Jerusalem and eating nothing but herbs and of imitating the saints...he not only found consolation in these thoughts, but even after they had left him he remained happy and joyful." (A Pilgrim’s Journey: The Autobiography of St. Ignatius, p. 48)
Discernment of Spirits
St. Ignatius’ experience
is where the idea of the
Discernment of Spirits
We will talk more in depth about the movements of the spirit within
our lives later
during this retreat,
The feelings that occur that match the fruits of the Holy Spirit:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, gentleness, faithfulness.
Do I feel an increase of faith, hope
St. Ignatius noticed that these fruits of the spirit stayed with him for a long time when he prayed about committing his life to Christ.
Basic Principles of Discernment
The feelings that occur that are opposite of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Do I feel a decrease of faith, hope
St. Ignatius noticed that when he thought about remaining in a solider and continuing his life as he was, the feelings of contentment and peace were
God talks to us through feelings and emotions,
just as God spoke to
St. Ignatius in different ways when he dreamed about being a solider or following Christ.
St. Ignatius refined this idea of discernment over the years of his life and he captured rules of discernment in the text of the
The first set of rules
of discernment invites
a person to ask,
“Is my life oriented fully towards God or towards someone, or something, else?”
The second set of rules of discernment occurs after a person has fully examined his or her life to determine if they are living a life
of faith or not.
These rules are about making a decision and choosing between two good options.
Discernment Between Two Goods
Most of our decisions occur here—the choice between two goods.
The choice is not always clear when we have
two choices that are good.
Our question of discernment at this point becomes, “What is my greater ‘yes’?”
discernment involves asking, “What is next right step?”
Over time, answering this question over and over again,
we will come to know the larger question we are pondering
For example ...
The next right step may be
deciding to enter discernment.
Or deciding to
Or deciding to talk to
someone about the choices.
This retreat offers you opportunities
to be with God and to reflect on what the
“next right step” that God is inviting you to!
of the Saints
The Life of