Recently, I was praying about and attempting to discern God's will in several areas of my life. I headed out to a holy hour at church, and took with me a book by Fr. John Hardon, A Retreat with the Lord: A Popular Guide to the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of
Loyola, which I borrowed from my spiritual director an embarrassing six years ago.
In the book, I found a quick guide to discernment. St. Ignatius urges us to examine the people and things in our lives, and to ask God for His guidance concerning where they fall in one of these four categories:
- Things/people God wants us to enjoy
- Things/people God wants us to endure (or suffer)
- Things/people God wants us to remove (because they lead us to sin)
- Things/people God wants us to sacrifice (willingly give up, even though they don't lead us to sin)
I wanted to share this, because I found it immensely helpful in discerning several things, from the seemingly small issue of how to spend my limited online time, to larger issues with which I was wrestling.
I hope that this simple exercise in prayer and priorities will be helpful to you, too.