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This or That? Yes or No? What’s Behind ‘Everyday Discernment’?

By: Kate O'Hare on May 19th, 2020

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This or That? Yes or No? What’s Behind ‘Everyday Discernment’?

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Most of us live in a place between wanting to make our own decisions and being paralyzed by actually making them.

Is making decisions a straightforward process or does life seem like a constant crossroads of infinite possibilities, and saying yes to anything excludes everything else? In “Catholic Central: Everyday Discernment,” Kai and Libby share some techniques, including the much-talked-about Discernment of Spirits, that will hopefully make the process easier for making choices, big or small.

Diving Deeper

  1. Discernment is a gift from God. Have you intentionally asked God for more of this gift? How do you think this gift might help you? Are there specific areas of life where you have trouble making decisions?

  2. We can respond to the gift of discernment and develop it through prayer, study, and seeking good counsel. Do you set time aside to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in everyday decisions? Do you seek out resources and mentors who can help you develop your relationship with the Holy Spirit?

  3. Think about a difficult decision you’ve made. Can you see where the Holy Spirit might have been working in your thoughts and feelings? Or can you see where you might have acted out of fear or selfishness?


Pope Francis says that it’s in the silence of prayer that “we can discern, in the light of the Spirit, the paths of holiness to which the Lord is calling us.” Spend regular time in silent prayer listening to the Spirit, asking Him questions and expecting a response. The Lord speaks to each of us personally and we can better hear His voice the more we practice listening. The more we know the voice of the Shepherd the more easily we can follow His direction in the daily decisions of our life.

Reflection by Father Vince Kuna, C.S.C.

The priest rector of my seminary explained to us that discernment “isn’t about waking up every morning and asking the question, ‘Should I be a priest?’ It’s about living the life.” This is similar to how conscience is not primarily “the voice in your head” but lived through practical action. Discernment is wrought out through trying on various vocations and professions. In my seminary rector’s example, participating in a postulant year gives an aspirant a good idea of whether religious life would be a suitable long-term fit. So, where practical, discern something through “trying on” the life. Apply for an internship in a profession. Do extra work in a field that your studying. If interested in marriage, ask someone out; or if religious life sparks an interest, attend a “come and see” weekend.

About Kate O'Hare

Based in Los Angeles, Kate O'Hare is a veteran entertainment journalist, social-media manager for Catholic production company Family Theater Productions, and a screenwriter.