Saint Louis University

What is Discernment?

Paul Coutinho, SJ, defines discernment’s goal: to deepen my union with the Divine. This requires two understandings: that a sincere decision may not always be the correct decision; and that sometimes, God puts desires in our hearts that are never fulfilled, but the desire effects the quality of life we live.

Using the Spiritual Exercises, he introduces two Ignatian meditations, the Two Standards, and the Three Groups of People, as tools for discernment and the role of consolation and desolation. He reminds viewers that discernment, ultimately, is a way of life.

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Higher purpose. Greater good.
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