Discernment Resources

Making decisions is hard. Ignatian discernment comes in handy when making major life decisions, like when to leave a job, where to move, which person to date, or whether to pursue marriage. Here are a list of resources for decision-making the Ignatian way!

The first section is worth browsing through for the purpose of initial reflection, an Ignatian must. Narrative and questioning is helpful as a first start. The second section is more practical information on Ignatian discernment.

But first consider these two entry-points into the world of Ignatian discernment:

A Calling to Indifference

Jim Gaffigan is amazed his priest would give up a life of fame and money for a deeper calling. Figures throughout history—Ignatius included—have done just that.

A Lamp for My Journey

On retreat, the light of God more widely illuminates the path before us.

Material Things

What would you do if you got $100,000? Saint Ignatius leads us in a meditation on this problem.

The Hope of Advent

In the midst of a broken world, we can find hope in the season of Advent.

Your Own Spiritual Exercises

You don’t have to be Saint Ignatius to create your own spiritual exercises. The story of Ignatius and his notebook in Manresa and steps on how to keep your own.

Discernment by Flipping a Coin

The apostles chose Judas’ replacement with (basically) a coin flip! Can I do that in my own discernment? Should we leave big decisions up to chance?

Spending Yourself

God’s love is a currency we’re called to spend. Jesus uses two parables to explain how this “God currency” works.

The Principle & Foundation: Ignatian Spirituality in a Nutshell

Ignatian spirituality can be summed up in the few paragraphs at the beginning of the Exercises: sharing life with God and responding in gratitude to God’s gifts in freedom.

You Have No Purpose (In the Way that You Think)

God’s will for us is not some predetermined blueprint that negates our freedom. Let’s examine how the Ignatian tradition understands discernment and purpose. Hint: There’s a bigger Dream for the world. And Disney Pixar’s Soul helps reminds us of this, too.

The Mother's Way of Living Dreams

Reaching our dreams through the daily decisions we make. The Mother from HIMYM gives us an example.

Get a quick overview

A 5-day email series on Ignatian discernment offering prayerful guidance and reflection questions.

Follow the Process

This guide will offer you a process and framework for discerning a particular decision using the approaches and prayer methods in the Ignatian tradition.

Take a deep-dive

A paid course with 2.5 hours of content, giving you nearly everything Ignatius said about discernment and decision-making.

Step 1: Listen

What’s my purpose? – Assessing your talents.
The Principle & Foundation – Ignatius’ statement of our purpose in God (the foundation for everything)
Consolation and Desolation – Hearing the voice of God
Three Circumstances for Making a Decision – Which one are you in?
The Discernment of Spirits – A 3-part series on Ignatius’ insights on hearing the voice of God.
Who You Are: Moana’s Call to Discernment
Three Spiritual Signals: Desires, Feelings, and Challenges
Changing States – A reflection on life changes.
Reading Your Heart – Barney Stinson tells us about discerning our feelings.
The Heart & The Gut – More on reading our interior feelings.
We Can Trust Our Experience – Ignatius’ stance on our experiences.
Dreams & Imagination – Using our imagination as a discernment tool.
Does It Spark Joy? – An important question to ask in the discernment process.
The Sound of Music & Grover – Maria and Grover give us some tips on discernment.
Discerning Advent – Using the Advent and Christmas story as a narrative, we explore Ignatian discernment and decision-making.
A format for personal decision-making by John Veltri, SJ
The brain science behind decision-making – Hidden Brain, NPR
Discernment Wisdom by Becky Eldredge

Step 2: Act

Suscipe, the Radical Prayer – Detachment is the first step in discernment.
Decisions are Difficult – Discernment is not the same as deciding
Ignatian Indifference
– Open the space to let God be God.
The Examen – An important discernment prayer practice.
Election – True discernment and decision-making ought to be about “selling” and casting off false masks, not “adding on” to our lives.
What’s Your Decision? – An excellent and practical book to making decisions using Ignatian discernment.
Where will you be waiting for me? – Trust that God will be waiting for you whatever decision you make.
A Way to Discern God’s Will – A broad overview of the Ignatian method.
Communal Discernment – Others can be valuable resources in discernment.
The Power of No – How quitting might be the answer.
I’m Just Experimenting – Experimentation can help with discernment.
An Ignatian Framework for Making a Decision – The Ignatian method in 11 steps.
A Presentation on Decision-Making
Being a Contemplative in Action – Steps to make discernment part of your everyday.
Spiritual Direction – Q&As and resources; More on spiritual direction; Find a spiritual director here or here.