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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Noreen Cannon Au. Integrating the wisdom of Christian tradition and recent psychological findings on effective decision-making, this book presents a view of Christian discernment that honors the body-spirit unity of the person and the broad and mysterious ways we can be led by the spirit of God in our life-choices. Going beyond discernment skills and concrete practices, this book presents a Integrating the wisdom of Christian tradition and recent psychological findings on effective decision-making, this book presents a view of Christian discernment that honors the body-spirit unity of the person and the broad and mysterious ways we can be led by the spirit of God in our life-choices.

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Going beyond discernment skills and concrete practices, this book presents a coherent theoretical understanding of discernment that grounds the many spiritual practices used by Christians today. By providing a broad and inclusive understanding of the multiple ways God can provide guidance to individuals, this book helps individuals to honor the unique and idiosyncratic way that they receive divine guidance, as well as provides guidelines that guard against possible self-deception and personal blind-spots.

While including anecdotal accounts and practical elements or Christian discernment, this book provides a conceptual understanding of discernment that will be helpful for those training to be professional ministers, pastors, priests, religious counselors, and spiritual directors. It is unique in applying Christian tradition and contemporary psychological insights to the process of discernment. Get A Copy.

Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Discerning Heart , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. He knows you more deeply than you know yourself and He has a path, a gift, a vocation, a purpose in mind for you.

The Discerning Heart : Exploring the Christian Path

Holy indifference means you can be at peace with whatever God shows you in your discernment, regardless of the outcome. Such an attitude makes you truly available to God and allows Him to lead you.

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The goal is to move from questions, to understanding, to a decision. This takes time: in prayer, in reflecting, asking questions and in talking to others. Discernment takes time, but perpetual discernment is NOT a vocation! Start out by giving serious consideration to the question of a religious vocation for six months.

The Discerning Heart: Exploring the Christian Path by Wilkie Au, Noreen Cannon Au

Trust Him, put in the time, and be committed to the process. God will lead you. Also, many people are praying for you daily when they offer prayers for those discerning their vocation. It is also encouraging to realize that those in religious life have been where you are. They understand; and they, too, support you with their prayers. If you think God may be calling you to religious life, you enter into a process to discern a religious vocation. Dating is part of the process to discern a vocation to marriage. Why is this important? If you really want to get to the bottom of things, really discover whether God is calling you to religious life or not, put dating aside for the time being and totally give yourself over to the discernment process in the time frame proposed.

Reduce the confusion so you can find clarity. It will be easier in the long run. And it is! But be clear. Discerning to enter the convent is not discerning to profess vows. In and through the various stages of initial formation you further explore and confirm your call to religious life.

The discernment process may seem confusing but there are particular actions and steps you can take to make it easier and ensure you make a good discernment. Some of these occur at the same time; some continue throughout the discernment process.

How to Discern Between Consolation and Desolation (Gospel Reflection)

Be patient; listen for the Holy Spirit. God will lead you to the right place at the right time. Continue to pray; work to deepen your prayer life. Prayer is a principal prerequisite for making a good discernment. Prayer is not just saying prayers. Trust completely that God has a plan for you and ask Him to reveal it to you. How do I know what God wants? You must spend time together to grow in your relationship.

In any case, remember: Prayer is the foundation for discerning your vocation and deepening your relationship with Christ. You have to listen deeply within yourself to perceive His quiet movement in your heart. Listening is an art that must be learned. The inner stillness necessary to hear with your heart starts with exterior stillness. You can listen best when you remove yourself from the things that distract and compete for your attention, like cell phones, computers, traffic, radio, and so on. Place yourself in an environment of silence where you can hear God more easily; find a quiet place without distractions in which to pray.

Yes, silence, exterior and interior, may be challenging at first, but persevere.


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God does speak in the stillness of the heart. As you learn the art of inner stillness, continue to reflect as your day unfolds. God frequently uses ordinary people, circumstances and events to speak to us, too. To get to know God become familiar Sacred Scriptures. Start by reading the Gospels. Christ speaks about Himself to us powerfully through the words of Sacred Scripture.

Every day, read a little bit of the Bible and talk with Jesus as you would talk to a best friend. It could be as small as a window sill on which you place a religious picture or other religious items. It can be very helpful to have a dedicated place set aside where you can focus your attention during your prayer time. Regardless, decide on a time that fits your life and when you can give your best attention. Decide on when and how much - then KEEP to the commitment!


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You might use a reading from the Mass of the day. Pray to Holy Spirit for help. If you can, read it aloud. The Word is God speaking to you. As you read, listen for a word or a phrase that catches your attention. Slowly read the text again. Listen for the Lord. If nothing strikes you, move on to read the next passage until something catches your attention. What is Jesus telling them? What is He telling me? Why did this word or phrase catch my attention?