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:

The Discernment of Spirits – Part 1

How do we know the voice of God from the voice of the evil one? This is the first part of a three-part series on Ignatius’ Rules for the Discernment of Spirits.

What gives you life?

This question, in the Ignatian sense, moves us toward the love of God.

Free Choice and Vocation

We don’t choose to be born, but we are given free choice. Through this we discover our passions and our vocation.

The Mother's Way of Living Dreams

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

How is a Catholic to vote?

Can I vote for a Democrat? Can I vote for someone who is not consistently pro-life? Isn’t abortion the primary issue I must base my vote on? Let’s examine what the Church teaches and how to make an Ignatian discernment.

Discerning Advent – Darkness

Incarnation occurs all the time, even in our decisions. We are in a whirl of confusion and feel like we’re in darkness. Advent is a time of sitting with those raw feelings and emotions because discernment begins with observation.

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.

The Privilege of Discernment

Discernment of major decisions, like having a job you love or choosing where you live, are a privilege.

The Secret, Revealed

What is this “secret” St Paul says God has revealed to all peoples? Tapping into it can be by way of Ignatian spirituality.

KonMari Your Spiritual Life in 6 Steps

How can you use Marie Kondō’s tidying method to declutter your spiritual life. It’s simple Ignatian discernment.

Get a quick overview

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

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.