A Spirituality of Discernment: Eyes, Ears, and Heart Open

By Kathy Keary

Our full series in the Contemplative Prayer Video Series is here.

Revisit earlier articles in our Contemplative Life Series here.

Part 4 of 4. Find all the articles in the Discernment series here.

Undoubtedly the divine touches our hearts through the events in our lives. Within two months of losing our home in a fire and while we were still in temporary housing, I sensed the summons to reach out to those challenged by homelessness.

While I never went a single night without a roof over my head, I deeply understood the trauma associated with losing that cherished place one calls home. An expanded heart allowed me to hear the call to reach out to others with compassion and to share the generosity I had received from family, friends, and even strangers.

Through this devastating chapter in my life, the Sacred One drew me into divine love and shaped who I now am in the world.

Wounded healers abound in our world, making a difference in the lives of others. Mothers who have lost children to drunk drivers advocate against driving while intoxicated through their dedication to MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Many who have lost loved ones to gun violence now advocate for reasonable gun laws.

Through their tears, these wounded healers have responded to the call to action. Perhaps you have been moved to service by a loss or tragedy in your life.

God also speaks to us through the positive experiences we enjoy. For example, many people have been moved to join the bandwagon to promote Christ Renews His Parish or Cursillo following an inspirational weekend. Their actions have led others into a deeper relationship with our Maker. A tender moment with a child may plant the seed to become a parent or a teacher.

When defenses and distractions are at a minimum, it is not unusual for God to speak to us through our dreams. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to encourage him to take Mary as his wife, to warn him about Herod’s threat instructing him to flee to Egypt, and to inform him when it was safe to return to Israel following Herod’s death. As mentioned in our first article on discernment, a dream was key in directing me to enter church work.

Taking an inventory of our gifts can reveal the direction that God may be leading us. I appreciate the wisdom of Elizabeth O’Connor, an inspirational author:

“We ask to know the will of God without guessing that His will is written into our very being. We perceive that will when we discern our gifts. Our obedience and surrender to God are a large part our obedience and surrender to our gifts.”

Serving the homeless was a natural fit for me as I have long enjoyed cooking, extending hospitality, and breaking bread with others. I utilized my writing skills in other arenas long before I sensed that God was asking me to pursue spiritual writing. Perhaps you sense an invitation written in the talents, skills, and blessings that the Sacred One has entrusted to you?

Don’t be surprised if God calls you to something unexpected or outside your comfort zone. God has a way of doing that to promote our growth. God gives us what we need to fulfill what God is asking us to do. It is amazing how our comfort zones expand as we exceed these limiting boundaries becoming more and more the person we were created to be.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay
Don’t be surprised if God calls you to something unexpected or outside your comfort zone.

Discerning where God is leading us can be confusing at times. Often, we question if we are misreading the signs placed in front of us. A sense of peace is a good indicator that we are on the path that the Hallowed One desires for us. Even though there may be some uneasiness about the possibility of a new challenge, we will probably not be experiencing inner turmoil when following God’s lead.

If the fruits of the Spirit are present, then the chances are good that God is in the mix: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The ways in which God communicates with his people are limitless. Our Maker knows us well and will touch our hearts in a way that speaks to us individually. Our job is to stay awake with eyes, ears, and heart open to perceive the Spirit’s action and direction in our life. Trust that our Loving God longs to lead us in ways that will bring us to the fullness of life as we each do our part to build up the kingdom in the here and now.

This article was originally published August 17, 2020.

[Kathy Keary, spiritual director, holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in theological studies, and completed Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the Divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the Divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]

Image is by Christelle Prieur from Pixabay

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