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:

Dreams & Imagination

Two of Disney’s cornerstones are dreams and imagination. What do they have to do with the spiritual life?

Subdue the Earth: A Genesis Understanding of Discernment

What does God’s command to “subdue the earth” mean? It has much to do with discernment.

Desire

Desires are so important in discovering who you’re meant to become. God speaks to us through our desires. Here’s a bit more on this important Ignatian principle.

The Fruits of the Spirit(s)

How do we know we’re moving toward union with God? Simple: we can know that by the fruits we see. Ignatius and Paul may use different words, but they’re in sync with the idea of “living by the Spirit”.

Discerning Advent – Nativity

God’s incarnation makes sacred our very decisions and even the process of discernment. Every decision we make becomes an incarnation, a little Christmas through which God enters the world.

Magis

Magis is about freedom and restless desire for greater things.

The Privilege of Discernment

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

What’s my purpose?

The two times I've seen the movie Hugo, I've been touched by a scene in which Hugo is in the train station's inside clock with his new friend Isabelle looking down on Monsieur Labisse, the bookshop owner. Hugo: He's got real... purpose. Isabelle: What do you mean?...

Ask Me Anything! (FB Live Event)

View or listen to my “Ask Me Anything” Facebook Live event.

Pope Francis on Discernment

Pope Francis’ recent catechises on discernment offers some helpful perspectives on Ignatian decision-making, including the importance of time, setbacks, desire, and self-knowledge.

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.