DWG1 – Guided by Grace – The Discernment of God’s Will in Everyday Decisions with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Guided by Grace – “What am I to do?” The Discernment of God’s Will in Everyday Decisions with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Fr. Timothy Gallagher and Kris McGregor focus on discerning the will of God in Christian decision-making, particularly through an Ignatian lens. Fr. Gallagher teaches us that Christians seek to make choices consciously aligned with God’s will, ranging from daily decisions to major life choices; and the importance of preparation through spiritual exercises such as examination of conscience, meditation, and prayer, which dispose the soul to discern God’s will.

Fr. Gallagher provides various scenarios to illustrate discernment principles. For instance, he discusses choices between morally good and bad options, emphasizing the importance of choosing what aligns with God’s will. He also delves into decisions between competing goods, where fidelity to one’s vocation guides discernment. Additionally, he explores the process of prayerfully considering factors, making decisions, finding peace, and learning from the outcomes.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Aligning Choices with God’s Will: How can I ensure that my decisions, whether small or significant, are consciously aligned with God’s will, reflecting a desire to live as a disciple of Christ?
  2. Preparation through Spiritual Exercises: In what ways can I incorporate spiritual exercises like examination of conscience, meditation, and prayer into my daily life to better prepare myself for discerning God’s will?
  3. Choosing between Morally Good and Bad Options: When faced with decisions between morally good and bad options, how can I find the courage to consistently choose what aligns with God’s will, even in challenging circumstances?
  4. Seeking Guidance from Church Teaching: How can I integrate the teachings of the Church, particularly in areas where societal norms may conflict with Christian values, to ensure that my discernment aligns with God’s will?
  5. Balancing Responsibilities within Vocation: Reflecting on Ruth’s situation, how can I discern between competing goods, ensuring that I prioritize fidelity to the duties of my vocation while also recognizing opportunities for service and growth?
  6. Prayerful Consideration of Daily Choices: In my daily life, how can I incorporate prayerful reflection and consideration of factors into my decision-making process, seeking God’s guidance in even the smallest of choices?
  7. Embracing a Disposition of Heart Like Mary’s: How can I cultivate a disposition of heart that mirrors Mary’s openness to God’s will, eagerly saying “yes” to whatever God asks of me, even when it involves sacrifice or difficult choices?
  8. Continuous Learning and Growth: How can I review my past decisions, both those that align with God’s will and those that may not have, in order to learn and grow in my ability to discern God’s will in future choices?

From The Discernment of God’s Will in Everyday Decisions:

Three Times in which a Sound and Good Choice May Be Made

The first time is when God Our Lord so moves and attracts the will that, without doubting or being able to doubt, the devout soul follows what is shown to it, as St. Paul and St. Matthew did in following Christ our Lord.

The second time is when sufficient clarity and understanding is received through experience of consolations and desolations, and through experience of discernment of different spirits.

The third time is one of tranquility, when one considers first for what purpose man is born, that is, to praise God our Lord and save his soul, and, desiring this, chooses as a means to this end some life or state within the bounds of the Church, so that he may be helped in the service of his Lord and the salvation of his soul. I said a tranquil time, that is, when the soul is not agitated by different spirits, and uses its natural powers freely and tranquilly.

If the choice is not made in the first or second time, two ways of making it in this third time are given below.”

Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:   frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s “Discerning Hearts” page

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