Discernment at the Casa
At the word of another, the two apostles, Andrew and John, decided to follow the Lord and "stay with him all the rest of the day". (cf. John 1:39) In the same way, some may feel inwardly drawn to the person of Jesus in a way that is not fully clear to them, that hasn't yet taken shape. There is a stirring in their heart, but it is enshrouded by a question mark. Resolving this requires a time of discernment—a time of real and active listening for the voice of the Lord.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.”
What is Discernment?
As a disciple of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Pope Francis teaches us that “there are two spirits, two ways of thinking, hearing, and acting: one which brings me to the Spirit of God, and one which brings me to the spirit of the world.” These spirits battle within the heart of man, and Pope Francis invites young people, especially those who are seeking God’s will, to learn to distinguish these spirits in order to choose and follow the one that leads towards God, towards “that which is good, perfect, and pleasing to Him” (Rm 12:2).
Discernment is fundamental for the Christian who—called to do “all things for the glory of God” (1Th 5:10)—lives in the world and is in touch with the plethora of different milieux, mentalities, and people therein. The exercise to practice here is the one indicated in the pauline exhortation: “Test everything and hold fast to what is good” (1Th 5:21).
The privileged, though not exclusive, locus of discernment remains that of the election of a state of life. In this, St. Ignatius is a peerless master; with the school of the Spiritual Exercises, he wrests from the retreatant all illusions about himself and throws him into the center of the Gospel for the decisive encounter with the Lord Jesus and his call.
It is in this spirit that the Casa offers itself as a space for spiritual discernment and election. Most commonly this discernment begins with a personally-guided retreat of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. Some, however, remain or return to the Casa for a more extensive time of discernment and formation in the Christian life.