The Discernment Debate

“The Holy Spirit upsets us because it moves us, makes us walk, and pushes the Church forward.”

Pope Francis
I used to throw around the word "discernment" a lot. For me, it was a good, holier word for thinking through something important. Once, during a meeting, I used it to describe a decision I needed to make. Someone asked, "Are you really discerning or are you just deciding?" I was a little startled (and a little annoyed) and responded, "Of course, why?" The person, sensing my twinge, quickly offered an assurance. "There’s nothing wrong with deciding, it seems as if you are debating between the paths you have already considered and are comfortable with rather than asking the Holy Spirit to guide you." The truth was (though I didn’t admit it), she was right. I was not inviting the Holy Spirit to "upset me, move me, push me forward" according to God’s will. I wasn’t even determining my will. I was trying to strategize the best way to make my determined will a reality. That might be good planning, but it’s not good discernment. How many times do I use the Spirit as some holy cover for my agenda instead of stopping to listen and be pushed out of the Upper Room like the apostles were at that first Pentecost? We have been called to celebrate a "New Pentecost" in our Church. As Catholic leaders, are we inviting the Spirit to affirm us in our wants OR upset us toward our call?

by Daniel Cellucci

Jun 05, 2017

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