DISCERNMENT: The Setting Of Discernment — Images of God, by David Lonsdale

June 7, 2016

From Listening to the Music of the Spirit Discernment means making choices within the context of a living relationship and continuing dialogue with God.  We carry about with us our own personal images of God.  They too, like the values by which we live, are the product of personal experience, education, the traditions of society, culture, and church, and so on.  These images, however, are not necessarily conscious.  We may not be aware with our conscious minds of who God is for us and what kind of God we relate to in practice.  Nonetheless, such pictures of God, hidden though they may be for much of the time, have a powerful effect on our lives.  They indicate, for example, what we really think of God.  They also influence how we [...]

EVIL: The Discernment Of Spirits, by the author of The Cloud of Unknowing

December 26, 2014

1.  Because there are different kinds of spirits, it is necessary for us to know how to distinguish them; especially as we are taught by the Apostle Saint John not to give credence to all spirits.  For it might seem to those who have but little education in spiritual things especially, that every thought that resounds in the human heart must be the utterance of no other spirit except man’s own.  And this is not so: as both the faith and the witness of Holy Scripture clearly show.  “For I shall hear,” says the Prophet David, “not what I myself speak, but whatever my Lord God speaks in me.”  And another prophet says that an angel spoke in him.  And besides this, we are taught in the Psalm that wicked [...]

FURSA IN LENT: Day Fifteen by Paul Wallis

March 1, 2013

From Be Thou My Breastplate Let the smelling of the Holy Spirit be in this nose. (Fursa’s Breastplate) Today Fursa invites me to dedicate to God this  most subjective of my physical senses.  A smell is a hard thing to quantify yet we know how powerful and precise a sense it can be.  The perfume worn by my mother when I was a nursing infant; the smell of the soap in my primary school washroom; the aroma of the vapor lamp that comforted my cold-ridden childhood head: all powerfully evoke a feeling or memory. In Fursa’s day, men and women understood that, as well as preserving feelings and memories, smells could carry important information.  Your nose might tell you if this was safe land to walk on or to build on.  Smell [...]

FURSA IN LENT: Day Eleven by Paul Wallis

February 25, 2013

From Be Thou My Breastplate Let the hearing of the Holy Spirit be in these ears.  (Fursa’s Breastplate) In our time we might think of listening to God as being something we do at a level that is internal.  We conceive of it as a mental, intuitive, or imaginative exercise.  Not our older brother Fursa.  He offers his ears.  It will be through the physical work of hearing and listening that Fursa expects to discern the words of God.  This must mean that in the sounds of nature and technology, in the speech of others, in the reading of the Bible or the reciting of memorized verses, Fursa expects somehow to hear the very voice of God.  From amid the mixture of this world of sound, Fursa seeks the alertness to recognize those [...]

JUDGMENT: Discernment — A Rare Bird by Benedicta Ward

December 6, 2012

From The Way, Supplement 64; London 1989 Discretion is a very rare bird upon the Earth. (Bernard of Clairvaux) In the Christian tradition, diakresis, discernment, has always been highly esteemed.  It has been seen not as merely part of the natural virtue of prudence but as one of the direct gifts of the Holy Spirit, both the way into and the fruit of life in Christ.  In the first thousand or more years of Christian living, discernment (also called discretion) was discussed with complete unanimity, not because each writer repeated what his predecessors said without further thought but because the practice of Christian life continued to make abundantly clear the nature and purpose of discernment.  It would be possible to summarize and [...]