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:

Feelings and Emotions: Be Curious in Prayer

Ignatius tells us that feelings are important guides in the spiritual life. How do we discern what feelings are telling us? How do we know they are leading us to God? Be curious.

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”.

The Motivations Beneath Desires: Why They’re Important

If we dig beneath the desires of our hearts we will discover deeper core motivations for those desires. They’re ultimately for God or the ego. Here are a couple ways we can dig down and uncover those motivations.

Courage!

“Courage!” Jesus says. This single word, rooted in the inner strength of the heart (cor), can motivate us to carry on into a deeper life with God.

Communal Discernment

Don’t figure things out on your own! Communal discernment is important to making decisions.

The Stories We Tell

What are the narratives that so affect our lives? Lent is a time to re-evaluate the stories that we tell both to ourselves and to others.

In the Flow

When we listen to the deep desires of our hearts we are in the flow of God’s love and God’s dream for our lives. But how do we know a desire is ‘of God’?

Ignatian Spirituality in Marriage, Family, and Relationships

A conversation with Tim Muldoon on how Ignatian principles can be applied to all kinds of relationships.

The Grace of Tears

Ignatius was quick to name tears as a sign of consolation, but it’s not the only indicator of spiritual movement.

A Lamp for My Journey

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

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.