Monday, May 20, 2013

Discernment: Voice within and voices without


 Imagine yourself shopping with a friend. You start out at each other’s side and then wander off to different parts of the store.  Time passes. You hear your name being called and automatically you respond: “Yes?” and  turn in the direction  from which your name originated.   Or imagine the phone ringing or a knock at the door of your home and you hear: “It’s for you.”  What is your reaction? How do you respond? These kinds of calls leave no confusion. You know how to respond.  It’s clear.

Go now to calls that originate from within your very being.   Inner calls are more difficult to detect.  You need to check your feelings, your intuitions, your hunches.  You need to talk to others: your peers, your friends, your parents, your siblings, your teachers, your counselors, your pastors/ministers. Figuring out what direction to take in your life is time-consuming.

Calls originating from your deepest, truest self are personal and intimate; no one else can make the decision for you: who to marry, when to marry, what career choice to make, whether or not to have children, whether to pursue a vocation to the priesthood, religious life or the diaconate or to serve God as a single person.   Some people abdicate their responsibility of decision making and do what others want them to do rather than what they want to do and know is right for them.  Being the author of your own life, knowing what you want of life and pursuing that path, not a path others map out for you, is a challenging task. It is not easy to assume this kind of responsibility.

Direction coming from your inner self originates from the Spirit who resides at the core of your beings—you will know that you are acting in accord with that Spirit when you sense a harmony between your outer and inner actions. Becoming skilled at recognizing the voice of this Spirit is hard work. It means that you need to develop, on a regular basis, daily no less,  the habit of listening to your inner self, being alone with yourself, quieting outer noises, seeking solitude.  How good are you at disciplining yourself to listen to yourself?

Source: Compare Margaret O'Brien, OSU,  Discovering Your Light: Common Journeys of Young Adults,Resurrection Press, Mineola, New York 1991,  pp. 12-13.

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