The Prinicipal and Foundation of Prayer and Discernment: a teaching from Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts

I had the opportunity to speak with Msgr. Esseff, who  is conducting a spiritual retreat for the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity in Sydney, Australia.  He shares with us the teachings from the first day, which is on the principal and foundation of prayer as taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Msgr. Esseff begins by reflecting on the Awe of God and the difference between “being” and “becoming”.  He shares a special memory of an experience that helped him to understand this which occurred when he was a young boy on his grandfather’s farm.  Many years later, he would learn this was a basic teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas on the nature of God and creation.  God is being and creation (including man) is becoming.

With that foundation, Msgr. Esseff proceeds to teach us that all of our are becoming therefore because mankind has a soul and has the capacity for reflection, we have the power to glorify God.  That is the first call we have, to glorify God.  To often we focus on our selves and what serves our needs.  St. Ignatius would say, that instead when faced with a decision or direction, each human being is called to discern, to ask whether if this is what God wants or is this is what I want.  The key is to take ask the Father “What do you want us to do?”  This is discernment at its basic level.



To obtain a copy of Msgr. Esseff’s book byvisiting here


Be sure to visit Msgr. Esseff’s website “Building a Kingdom of  Love


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