Chatting about: Discernment and Signs
This interesting topic drew in a number of chatters and here is a healthy representation of last night’s dicussion:
Sister : Welcome to tonight’s chat session. How do we know God’s Will? Do we sometimes ask for signs? Even Ven Brisson did! Let’s discuss!
Jul 29 2012, 7:05 PM
Sister : Are you familiar with Ven Brisson? He will be beatified in Sept And we are tapping his experience to have the chat tonight.
Guest591 (guest): I read about him when I saw the topic for this week. I love the topic.
Guest591 (guest): Is it prudent to ask for a sign from God? always! just be sure you really want it!
Sister: I think we all sometimes look for those signs but they are not the bottom line of discernment more like an enhancement
Guest591 (guest): Agreed.
Sister : For ex if Ven Brisson had paid attention to Mother Chappuis he would not have needed the sign if he trusted her completely at that time
Sister : But he had not yet reached that point so he asked for the sign, which he received
Guest591 (guest): It is not so much the strength of the sign, but the duration, to me.
Sister : But it wasn’t enuf because he was not convinced yet
Duration- that is interesting can you speak more on that?
Guest591 (guest): Ven Brisson waited a long time to move in the direction God was urging. If a desire is in your heart that keeps coming up.
Sister : So it is the duration of the desire that is in itself a sign of God’s Will
I think that’s solid!
Guest591 (guest): that, and how the circumstances keep pointing in that direction
Sister : I have also felt that conviction plays a deep part in discernment and perhaps it is the circumstances that help us become convinced!
Guest591 (guest): Yes!
Sister : The desire for commitment can also play a part too
Sister: Depending on what the Lord is drawing one to
Guest591 (guest): For ex., I have been reading about salesian spirituality. I desire to join a spiritual fellowship, but the Salesians keep popping up.
Sister : There are several Salesian groups- the Salesians of Don Bosco have Salesian Cooperators
Guest591 (guest): I have not read about them yet
Sister : Then there is the Association of St Francis de Sales.How is it popping up for you?
And popping up by the way is a good phrase! It explains how those signs sometimes come along
Guest591 (guest): The assoc. of st farancis de sales provides spiritual companions which appeals to me.
Sister : Yes that is a great benefit with them. Do you want to get in contact with a group leader?
Association of St Francis de Sales is correct; also known as Sons and Daughters of SFDS
Guest591 (guest): Thats the one.
Sister : They do alot by long distance
Guest591 (guest): I like that!
Sister : Writing, calling etc until a group can be formed.
Jul 29 2012, 7:22 PM
Guest591 (guest): Yes! but I live in a remote area, no groups nearby.
Jul 29 2012, 7:21 PM
Sister : It is really worth your while to try it!
Guest591 (guest): thankyou
I will. I have alot on mylate with being DRE, and a limiting disability, but it keeps coming back to me.
Sister : Here’s a sign I received way back: I was thinking of enetering the Visitation and had a spiritual director guiding me
But I went to a chapel to pray and a bird knocked into the window When I turned in that direction it had bumped into the stained glass window of the Visitation!
Guest591 (guest): God has a funny sense of humour, sometimes!
Jul 29 2012, 7:28 PM
C: The longer the duration the more genuine the call?
Guest591 (guest): Once, when I was thinking about becoming Catholic, God gave me a big sign. I moved behind a monastery.
Sister : We can also resist our desires and those very signs. Again back to Ven Brisson; he followed no sign given until Jesus appeared to him!
Guest591 (guest): He was a bit stubborn, there.
Jul 29 2012, 7:31 PM
Sister : Yes stubborn- so that too can be overcome and he did so
C.: Why? was it because he did not trust the other signs? Or because he doubted what he saw?
Sister : AS I understand it, the signs confirmed that what Mother Chappuis said was true and he was not ready to obey her!
Sister : To admit she was right!
Jul 29 2012, 7:33 PM
Guest591 (guest): or perhaps he was a little fearful of the task.
Sister : But he became her greatest supporter later and wrote a great biography of her
Jul 29 2012, 7:33 PM
C It’s hard to admit that we’ve made a mistake sometimes
Sister : Probably fearful oh yes
Anytime there is a turning point fear can creep in
Jul 29 2012, 7:34 PM
C.: How did he discern that the vision he had of Jesus was true?
Guest591 (guest): She must have been a remarkable woman.
Sister : It was an interior thing- plus when Mother Chappuis returned to the room she said something like we must always listen to the Lord
Sister I have to check that out for accuracy
Siste: Yes, she was and her cause is also in Rome
Sister : But not as far along
Jul 29 2012, 7:36 PM
Guest591 (guest): I bet if the Lord walked into my room, I’d know it was him without a doubt.
Sister : How do you know when you are resisting something or it is God telling you no to that particular thing?
Guest591 (guest): Good one!
Sister : I am dealing with that one myself
C.: For me, if God wants me to do something, and I resist, I start to feel anxious and separated from Him’
SM: Hi to all!
C.: Yes, way down in my gut. If it’s my own desire, I can forget all about it, but if it’s His, it just keeps coming back
C:In life, how can you tell if it’s God or the other person?
SM: Doing God’s will is always a matter of forgetting myself in service to others.
Guest591 (guest): It doesnt matter if its God or the other person, because I trust God is ultimately in control
SM: So it’s not particularly important where I do that, as long as I consistently do it.
And God’s control of it will inevitably lead you where you need to be.
No need to worry!
C.: So, as long as the other person isn’t asking you to do anything wrong, you treat it as though it were Him speaking
Guest591 (guest): Discernment is more than direction, tho.
Sister: That’s a good point too- can you elaborate on your understanding
Jul 29 2012, 7:48 PM
Guest591 (guest): It is an urging that wontt go away. very personal.
Jul 29 2012, 7:48 PM
S MContinuous prayer at Mass and before the Blessed Sacrament is certainly needed, too.
Guest591 (guest): O yes! just being in the same room with the Lord is wonderful.
C.: Yes, if we are not quiet, we can’t hear Him, and the best place to be quiet is in prayer
(guest): Quiet and prayer is better than many opinions.
Jul 29 2012, 7:50 PM
R (guest):, true… I went on a silent retreat at a monastery in June and left there feeling wonderful, no confusion, just joy
Jul 29 2012, 7:50 PM
SM:It’s funny how that idea that’s been nagging at us suddenly becomes doable.
Sister : Yes and we are trying to avoid all those mere opinions and get to the heart of the matter before God and perhaps the one chosen to guide your soul
S M But we need to trust more in what Our Lord is showing us, not what others say.
S M I found balance is the key – work and prayer. That’s what I like so much about religious life.
Sister : The key seems to lie in the characteristics that a Monastery offers.. silence prayer the Lord’s very presence
C.: Yes, and there’s an indefinable quality to the monastic life, because I can do LOTH and Adoration and contemplation at home and still be depressed that I’m not in a monastery
Guest591 (guest): Maybe humor is also important to maintain when in discernment. Guest591 (guest): We are having a discussion about asking God for a sign, how big of a sign do we need,
Rl (guest): <~~glowing neon sign
Jul 29 2012, 8:01 PM
Guest591 (guest): and what are ways of discerning Gods will.
S M: A prefer God’s presence in that gentle breeze!
Guest591 (guest): ha!
There’s something appealing about that glowing neon though. A flash of light is also fun!
S M: That’s why humility and gentleness are so Visitandine!
S M: What signs have helped you decide things so far in your life?
Sister: An ex of a choice I gave earlier was my considering the Visitation praying about it in a chapel and then having a bird knock into the nstain glass window of the Visitation!
C.: Wow! I was told growing up that real signs don’t happen anymore, but apparently they happen to everyone!
J: Sister..I hope the bird lived haha
Sister : Don’t know if the bird lived!
S M: So wonder is important, too.
Sister But the chapel was in a cemetary!
J: ahhh…so maybe you were about to begin a new life…the old one had died
Guest591 (guest): At the first Catholic Mass I attended, a bright light lit up the host as it was raised. I knew it was really God in the host, and have had great conviction abput the true presence since.
SM: Before Office I’m using a great book called “My Daily Eucharist,” which talks about just those kinds of signs.
Guest591 (guest): I had never been to a Mass, so I thought that always happened!
C.: Why is it that some see almost constantly and others never see at all?
S M : The book is a series of experiences (in the form of daily meditations) of people through the years, who felt Our Lord present during the Eucharist.
R (guest): my sign when I converted (even though I was Baptized Catholic as a baby) was dreams
S M: Dreams can be powerful – cf. Joseph’s.
J: how can we know for sure though that it is just an imagination gone awry? desiring something so much that we generate it
S.M It won’t happen and be fruitful unless it’s the right thing.
S: In his case I believe Mother Chappuis the Superior confirmed it, indirectly perhaps
Guest591 (guest): I think His real presence would feel powerful.
C: I have the same question Being a writer, my imagination can go a bit overboard
S M: St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers/journalists, can help!
Guest591 (guest): Sometimes, when I pray, I reach for God. Other times, I feel
Him reach for me. there is a different feel.
SM That’s what we Visitandines mean by humility before God: letting Him reach for us!
Guest591 (guest): When it comes from outside yourself, it is amazing.
Ca.: Do you find using the Ignatian style of prayer helps in this discernment?
Guest591 (guest): he has written so much good advice there
It all comes down to getting as close to Our Lord as we can; then it all comes clear, or at least clearer.
Sister : There is an excellent new book by a Jesuit Fr Mossa on St Ignatius writings that is very helpful, besides the formal spiritual exercises
Guest591 (guest): Yes. Circumstances are signs.
J: I’m like R. needing a neon sign. But not only that but a lightning bolt from heaven that knocks me off of a horse…Jesus to come in my room and say Hi!!! a bird hit my window…before I would believe it was a sign sent to me
Guest591 (guest): Good night! thank you for your insights!