To discern implies to take risks and in some cases to succeed. Alicia Correa, Augustinian Recollect, expresses in this article the richness of discernment
If we search the Internet for the meaning of the word discernment, among thousands of answers I choose the one that defines us as distinguishing one thing from another, pointing out the difference between them.
We all have experience that life is not just a coming into existence, here we have not been given everything done, nor do we have anything resolved without compromises or problems to solve, we do not take things for granted nor do we get what we say every day, as they say, “like a ring to the finger”. Most of the time we do not do things easily, but they are the fruit of effort and work, much less do we see everything always one hundred percent clear, and on many occasions the circumstances are presented to us darker than clear.
Life is a wonderful opportunity to awaken to new and constant experiences that are shaping our existence and so often, even without being aware of it, we have to discern in everything and for everything, from the lightest to the most important. She teaches us that we cannot have everything, nor can we embrace it perfectly and in one fell swoop, nor be perfect, that’s how we are when we are small, so we have to practice with assiduity discernment even to begin our day to day, that day full of activities, emotions, unforeseen, joys, dreams, overcoming, or failures, that everything fits at any time and at any time.
Discernment implies a process of search and selection. It is up to us to choose between one or several possibilities. For example, on a day of rest, I can discern what to do, whether to go to the beach or to the countryside, or simply to stay at home and rest having a good cup of tea and relaxing from the work of the week.
Discernment allows us to learn from the twists and turns of life; it is trying to get on the train of that passionate adventure and find out how and where to walk, to place what happens to us in its place again and again without rest, to rearrange our restless heart, that heart that is sometimes confused, dispersed, broken, disoriented or simply absent-minded.
To discern is the opposite of passivity, of disinterest. It implies dynamics, movement, risk to obtain a concrete end and the result that is sought.
Life often places us in the position of choosing, of detaching ourselves from something in order to keep the essential, or at least to enjoy what we consider good or better for us, a difficult process but also loaded with the consequent wisdom.
Discernment involves risk. And here we must ask ourselves the question of the million: whenever we choose, that we discern, do we do it properly? Of course not, we have said above that everything is not given to us, but nothing happens, absolutely nothing, discernment distracts us from our fears and teaches us to accept our mistakes, it shows us where we can and what we lack, it is the thermometer that indicates the quality of our maturity, of our personal growth, thanks to it we must learn to accept our falls or our overcoming with peace. It balances us, regenerates us from within and enables us to demonstrate it outwards.
To know how to discern, to have wisdom, that is the “quid” of the question, to differentiate the truth from the error, to see what is dark and to make the light shine, it is a good tool to walk in life, it is the pedagogue who is shaping our existence, is like that “interior Master” that St. Augustine said, the one who teaches and the one who speaks, the one who corrects and calls you, the one who cries with you in your failures and the one who laughs and accompanies you in the moments of celebration, the one who calls you by your name and also the one you always carry inside and never abandons you.
Let us choose to do well, to discern well, to live well, to work well, to pray well. This will be a good discernment, a good choice of life, because once you live, as the poet Horatio said: “carpe diem”… and in the words of St. Augustine: I must not renounce doing what I can, for the fact that I cannot do all that I want” (Ep.166,1,1).
Courage, every day we are offered a new challenge, to attain the wisdom of the one who discerns well.