5 Discernment Questions from Ignatius of Loyola

by Hilary Horn

By Hilary Horn

As we continue our theme, What Does Our Soul Long to Do? I thought that these tools offered from Saint Ignatius of Loyola would be fitting to share on Godspace this week. We live in a world where there sometimes the clarity between truth and fallacy isn’t always lucid. We can easily be enticed by false teachers and the culture of the world.  Often it is hard to discern what direction we should go or what God has for us next. We have to recognize that we need to grow in discernment and let the Holy Spirit help us navigate with wisdom.

Ignatius of Loyola

To “discern” means to try to figure out what God wants us to do.  It’s not always easy. Sometimes our soul may long for something, but it may not be the right choice. How do we know? Fortunately, St. Ignatius of Loyola offers time-tested guidelines for the discernment of spirits to help us discover what God is calling us to do in the big and small decisions of our lives – including vocational discernment (a place I am currently navigating) – that are extremely practical and helpful for both personal discernment as well as in helping others discern what God is calling them to.

Here’s what Ignatius suggests you consider to ask as you practice discernment:

  1. Is this decision faithful to scripture and the historical understanding of the church?
  2. Does this decision manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit within the individual and community?
  3. Is this decision characterized by a genuine sense of peace relationally with God?
  4. Does this decision promote reconciliation rather than divisiveness?
  5. Has this decision process been engaged with integrity and considered/weighed with others we trust?


Here’s a great prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola if you are interested too!


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1 comment

Herbert B Orr October 8, 2019 - 12:45 pm

Hebrews 4 v 12 includes that the Word of God: (Logos= all of Christian truths accepted by one’s intellect)
is sharper than a sword which includes It helps to discern one[‘s thoughts. I believe this includes to examine oneself
to see if one’s thoughts are obedient to Christs: 2nd Corinthians 10 v 5. To do this is to answer and obey these 5 questions.as stated here.

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