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tree2These days we hear a lot about discernment or making right choices. St. Ignatius did not invent discernment but certainly his writings give clarity about a process for making major life choices.

However, probably more important is the fact that the spirituality Ignatius left us in his writings leads to a deep, personal relationship with Jesus. It also includes growth in knowing the heart and mind of Jesus during the time that he preached on the shores of Galilee.

It is this deep relationship with Jesus of Nazareth who revealed the Father’s love to us that will help us to know how God would like our future to unfold.

This does not mean it will predict our future. But it will help us to have the values and inclinations to take the next step on our life journey on a path with him. St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians (5:22) tells us how we will know that we are on the right path: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Father Jean-Pierre Médaille, the 17th century Jesuit who brought together and established the very first Sisters of St. Joseph, urged the Sisters to be filled with Christ Jesus and the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He left us spiritual sayings known as the Little Maxims of Perfection.

Several of these offer guidance on how to make life choices. Maxim 48 tells us to seek always God’s glory and the good of our neighbours. Maxim 84 warns us to “Never go ahead of grace by an imprudent eagerness, but quietly await its movements, and, when it comes to you, go along with it with great gentleness, humility, fidelity, and courage.”

Father Médaille wanted the Sisters he was helping to know that using St. Ignatius' method of discernment to find life’s direction takes wisdom, patience, sensitivity and basic common sense — and is best done in union with Christ while serving others.

Sister Rosemary Fry

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