The Virtue of Discernment

Confraternity of Penitents
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Discernment is the virtue that helps us to know the best course of action and to understand the truth and falsity in a situation….

When discerning anything, the best place to begin is with prayer. Ask God to show you the right way, the right decision, the perfect action, the truth of the situation. Consulting Scripture may help you make a decision and can give insight. Speaking to others who would have the knowledge and insight to advise you is an important part of discernment. Writing down the pros and cons of each alternative can help you visually determine what might be the best course of action. Writing can also help you determine where the truth lies in a certain situation. In moral and theological situations, consulting the teachings of the Church will help you to know which decisions and courses of action are morally and theologically correct. After doing these things, you must make a decision and take action as the men did who first followed Francis. Discernment without action is useless.

Can we ever be positive that we have discerned accurately? Sometimes we cannot be certain. However, if we have asked God for His direction and have tried to prudently follow where He is leading, then we need to trust our decision.

Confraternity of Penitents, Jennifer Vetter, ed.,
Franciscan Virtues Through the Year: 52 Steps to Conversion from Saint Francis of Assisi, © 2016
Confraternity of Penitents, p. 16.