(TAKEN FROM THE HOLY FATHER’S CATECHESIS ON DISCERNMENT, AT THE WEDNESDAY GENERAL AUDIENCE, AUGUST, 2022—JANUARY, 2023.)
To discern we need to be in an environment, in a state of prayer.
Prayer is an indispensable aid for spiritual discernment, especially when it involves the affective dimension, enabling us to address God with simplicity and familiarity, as one would speak to a friend. It is knowing how to go beyond thoughts, to enter into intimacy with the Lord, with an affectionate spontaneity…This familiarity overcomes fear or doubt that his will is not for our good, a temptation that … makes our heart restless and uncertain, or even bitter.
Discernment does not claim absolute certainty, it is not a chemically pure method, it does not claim absolute certainty because it is about life, and life is not always logical… We would like to know precisely what should be done, yet even when it happens, we do not always act accordingly.
Discerning what is happening within us is not easy, for appearances are deceptive, but familiarity with God can melt doubts and fears in a gentle way, making our lives increasingly receptive to his “gentle light,” according to the beautiful expression of Saint John Henry Newman…Let us ask for this grace: to live a relationship of friendship with the Lord, as a friend speaks to a friend (cf. Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 53). It is a grace we must ask for one another: to see Jesus as our friend, as our greatest friend, our faithful friend, who does not blackmail, above all who never abandons us, even when we turn away from him.