DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     September 3-5, 1999     vol. 10, no. 167


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      "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

      This weekend Sister treats the subject of discernment in everyday life and how to determine God's Will. She explains that we have the crib sheet of the Commandments and the teachings of Holy Mother Church, but that we need to weigh the good points with the negative to best determine the direction to take. She reminds all that we can't take the Almighty for granted and we can't abuse the privilege of signs by asking nonsensical questions that common sense will answer. In other words, use the God-given gift of our brain and think! That is the gist of Sister's column this weekend, How to discern God's Will.

      Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www .heartofmaryministry. com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy @aol.com by e-mail.


        In my article last week, it was indicated that we know we love God if we are conscientiously avoiding grave sin, also called mortal or serious sin. We know that our love for God is even greater when we avoid deliberate venial sin. I had also mentioned that we love God best, when we seek His Will in everything and try to do it.

        It is easy to know Godís Will in some ways. For example, Godís Will is clear to us in the Ten Commandments. For Religious, Godís Will is clear in the Communityís Rule. But sometimes it is not easy to know Godís Will when one has to make a decision between two things that are good.

        As a young Sister, I asked a very wise and elderly Jesuit: "How do I know Godís Will when it does not involve sin and does involve choosing between two things that are OK in themselves? For example, if I have a choice of two retreats ... how can I discern which one God wants me to make?"

        His answer was very Ignatian and has often been of help to me throughout my Religious life. He said: "Weigh the pros and cons."

        In other words, God gave each of us an intellect and most likely God is not going to speak aloud from the Heavens to tell us everything to do. So having given us an intellect, which God wants us to use, God expects us to DISCERN ... to think of all the reasons FOR a particular choice and all the reasons AGAINST a particular choice. Then WEIGH them with good judgment and prudence.

        I have met people on occasion who ask God for signs for everything in their lives. Something like: ďDear God, if I should go to the grocery store today, please let there be a deer in my back yard.Ē

        Ouch!!!! My, my! I think if one needs to make a decision about whether they are to go to the grocery store or not, they should simply go to their kitchen and check out their supplies. Then make an intelligent list.

        When I hear something like that, I want to cringe. I guess itís because I was taught as a young Sister that we should be very careful about asking God for signs, for such could take the form of ďtemptingĒ God. Though there may be occasions for asking God for signs, they should be reserved to very, VERY serious matters and hopefully with proper spiritual guidance.

        So, it is simple, my friends. We have to work at discerning the Will of God many times by using the intellect and wisdom we have. It may take time. It might even require that we sit down with pencil and paper to actually write out the pros and cons of a particular action. Perhaps consultation with wiser persons than ourselves can and should play a part.

        Of course, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. We should pray constantly throughout our day, but then use the natural and supernatural gifts God has given you to discern.

        God bless you! See you next week!

September 3-5, 1999       volume 10, no. 167


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