Francis: discernment is arduous, but indispensable for living

“Discerning is an important act that concerns everyone, because choices are an essential part of life,” Pope Francis said during the first catechesis on discernment at the General Audience on Wednesday.

Mariangela Jaguraba – Vatican News

Pope Francis began a new cycle of catechesis on the topic of discernment at the General Audience, this Wednesday (31/08), held in the Paul VI Room. “What it means to discern” was the theme of this weekly meeting with the faithful.

Discerning is an important act that concerns everyone, because choices are an essential part of life. Discern the choices. You choose food, clothes, a course of study, a job, a relationship. In all this, a life project is realized, and our relationship with God is also made concrete.

It is necessary to know how to discern

in the Gospel, Jesus speaks of discernment with images taken from ordinary life; for example, it describes fishermen who select the good fish and discard the bad ones; or the merchant who knows how to identify, among many pearls, the one of greatest value. Or the one who, plowing a field, comes across something that turns out to be a treasure.

“In the light of these examples, discernment presents itself as an exercise in intelligencein expertise and even from willto recognize the favorable moment: these are the conditions for making a good choice”, said the Pope, adding:

Decisions are made by each of us. No one can take it for us. Adults, free. We can ask for advice, think, but the decision is our own. One cannot say, “I missed it, because my husband decided, my wife decided, my brother decided”: no! You must decide, each of us must decide. That is why it is important to know how to discern: to make a good decision it is necessary to know how to discern.

Discernment involves affections

“The Gospel suggests another important aspect of discernment: it involves the affections. Whoever found the treasure has no difficulty selling everything, so great is his happiness. The term used by the evangelist Matthew indicates a totally special joy, which no human reality can give; and indeed, it is repeated in very few other passages of the Gospel, all of which relate to the encounter with God. It is the joy of the Magi when, after a long and arduous journey, they see the star again; it is the joy of the women who return from the empty tomb, after hearing the angel’s announcement of the resurrection. It is the joy of those who have found the Lord,” Francis said.

At the doomsday God will make a discernment, the great discernment, in relation to us”, stressed the Pope, reiterating that “it is very important to know how to discern: great choices can arise from circumstances that are at first secondary, but turn out to be decisive. In a good decision, God’s will meets our will; the present path meets the eternal. To make a just decision, after a journey of discernment, is to make this encounter: time with the eternal”.

Discernment is the reflection of the mind and heart

Knowledge, experience, affections and will are some indispensable elements for discernment, but discernment also requires “effort“. “According to the Bible, we do not find before us, already packaged, the life we ​​should live. God invites us to evaluate and choose: he created us free and wants us to exercise our freedom. Therefore, discernment is difficult“, underlined the Pontiff.

Discernment is that reflection of the mind, of the heart that we must do before making a decision. Discernment is arduous, but indispensable for living. It requires me to know myself, to know what is good for me here and now. Above all, it requires a filial relationship with God who never imposes his will, because he wants to be loved, not feared. And love can only be lived in freedom. To learn to live, you have to learn to love, and that’s why it’s necessary to discern.

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