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:

Discerning Advent – Preparation

People had to discern John the Baptist’s message. Was he the messiah? What were the signs they saw? Discernment includes many signs, consolation and desolation, and movements from the spirits that prepare the way to a choice.

The Bible Project: Our Purpose (Part 3)

Part 3 of 3 of an interview with Tim Mackie and Jon Collins of The Bible Project, exploring some of the biblical themes that connect to Ignatian spirituality.

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.

Changing States

Like materials that can change states with temperature (water, metal, plastic), we too change states but remain the same at the core.

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.

The Power of No

We’re told not to be a quitter, but sometimes there are great benefits in saying “no” and quitting. It all depends on what our investments are and what we’re willing to invest to progress in our God-given calling.

The Heart & The Gut

I tend not to think about the bodily language we use to describe feelings. But feelings are just that, physical feelings occurring somewhere in our bodies. Let’s explore two such places: the heart and the gut.

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’?

Not Quite a Do-It-Yourself Spirituality

Ignatian spirituality is a treasure because it is a spirituality that requires your full involvement and God’s full involvement. I cannot solely search within me for the answers and, on the other hand, I cannot discern what God desires for me if I do not look within.

Being Christian: A Christian Disposition

How do we go about having a Christian disposition? The Enneagram is a helpful tool in becoming our best selves in God.

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.