“The times in which we live demand that we develop a profound capacity of discernment."
In the latest , the Holy Father focuses on the necessity of spiritual discernment and how the Church needs to encourage all people to practice it on a regular basis. In the video, Pope Francis calls all individuals and communities to hear the voice of God and listen attentively to his promptings.
“Let us pray together that the Church may appreciate the urgency of formation in spiritual discernment, both on the personal and communitarian levels,” he invites. “To discern, from among all the voices we hear, which is the Lord’s voice, which is the voice of Him who guides us to the Resurrection, to Life, and the voice that frees us from falling into the ‘culture of death.’”
Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his desire for increased formation in discernment, a key element of Jesuit spirituality. (Pope Francis is the first pope to belong to the Jesuit religious family, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola).
In September of 2017, Francis noted in a formation course for new bishops his concern about this issue, and invited the bishops to discern with humility and obedience, with the people and for the people: “Discerning therefore means humility and obedience. Humility with regard to one’s own projects. Obedience to the Gospel, the ultimate criterion; to the Magisterium, which safeguards it; to the norms of the universal Church, which serve it; and to the concrete situation of the people, for whom we want nothing other than to draw from the treasure of the Church what is most fruitful for their salvation today.”
“The times in which we live demand that we develop a profound capacity of discernment,” the pope says in the video. He challenges all people to ‘read within’ what the Lord is asking us, so as to live in love and continue his mission of love.
Call for youth
It is a fitting topic for this year as the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment will take place in October. The Holy Father wrote last year in a letter to young people, “Jesus looks at you and invites you to go with him. Dear young people, have you noticed this look towards you? Have you heard this voice? Have you felt this urge to undertake this journey? I am sure that, despite the noise and confusion seemingly prevalent in the world, this call continues to resonate in the depths of your heart so as to open it to joy in its fullness. This will be possible to the extent that, even with professional guides, you will learn how to undertake a journey of discernment to discover God’s plan in your life. Even when the journey is uncertain and you fall, God, rich in mercy, will extend his hand to pick you up.”
Jesuit Father Frédéric Fornos, international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, said: “Spiritual discernment is the compass that enables us to recognize the Holy Spirit in our lives, in our communities, and in the world. Today, as yesterday, God continues to act, and to accompany his Church. But many times we do not recognize his voice. ‘Formation in discernment,’ as Francis says, is urgent, because it helps us to listen, to recognize, and to be docile to the Spirit of the Lord in the great challenges of the world and the mission of the Church.Without spiritual and pastoral discernment, we are blind.”
The intentions are entrusted each month to the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and The Pope Video is produced by La Machi Communication for Good Causes with the support of the Society of Jesus, IndigoMusic, GettyImagesLatam, Doppler Email Marketing and the collaboration of Vatican Media. It also has Aleteia as a media partner. Since its launch in January of 2016, it has had more than 21 million views on its networks.
What is discernment?