(Vatican News) Pope Francis continues his catechesis on discernment at the weekly General Audience, and reflects on the need to confirm our decisions with the presence of a long-lasting inner peace.
“We can recognize some important aspects that help to read the time after a decision as a possible confirmation of its goodness.”
Pope Francis made that observation in his continuing catechesis on discernment at the Wednesday General Audience.
He focused his reflections on the importance of confirming decisions with signs from our daily lives.
“One of the distinctive signs of the good spirit is the fact that it communicates a peace that lasts in time. A peace that brings harmony, unity, fervour, zeal.”
Good choices improve daily life
The Pope offered the example of someone who decides to dedicate an extra half-hour to prayer.
He said the person should ask themselves whether the other moments of their day are more serene or anxious, if they care more or less for their work, or if their relationships with difficult people are more or less tranquil.
“The spiritual life is circular,” he said. “The goodness of a choice benefits all areas of our lives. For it is participation in God’s creativity.”
Alignment of our lives
Pope Francis said one aspect of post-decision discernment is the awareness of “feeling in one’s proper place in life” and a useful part of a larger plan.
He noted that St. Peter’s Square has two points from which the columns of Bernini are perfectly aligned. In the same way, he said, we understand that we have made a good decision when our day becomes more ordered and integrated and we discover renewed energy.
Overcoming desire to possess
Another sign of a good discernment, said the Pope, is when we “remain free” in relation to what we have decided and are “willing to revisit the decision” to find a possible teaching from the Lord.
“This is not because He wants to deprive us of what we hold dear, but in order to live it with freedom, without attachment,” he said. “Only God knows what is truly good for us.”
Pope Francis added that the desire to possess is the enemy of goodness, pointing to the many cases of domestic violence which he said often are the result of the desire to possess the affection of another person.
“We can only love in freedom, which is why the Lord created us free, free even to say no to Him.”
Courage in fear of the Lord
In conclusion, the Pope said that the “fear of God” or “respect of God” is an indispensable gift of Divine Wisdom that helps us in our discernment.
“It is the fear that casts out all other fears, because it is oriented to Him who is Lord of all things. In His presence, nothing can disquiet us.”