by Fr. Robert DeGrandis, on the
charismatic gift of 'knowing' -- of receiving direct wisdom and knowledge
from Heaven, especially in healing but also in music, in discernment, in
finding lost things, in Scripture and everyday life!
IN MYSTICISM AND ALSO DAILY LIFE ARE CONSTANT DECISIONS THAT WE REFER TO AS 'DISCERNMENT'
We hear the term all the time: discern. We use it often. It is particularly relevant in the realm of the non-material.
But what does it mean?
Webster's dictionary tells us that to discern means to separate, divide, to distinguish mentally, to see the difference between two things, to discriminate, to understand a distinction, "as between good and evil."
In the spiritual realm, it is often used in the latter sense -- to determine whether an insight or phenomenon is from God, from the flesh (one's own subconscious), or from the great deceiver.
Too often, it is the latter. The devil is the father of lies. He comes as an angel of light. We use the verb "discern" especially with seers, healers, and locutions.
In the realm of the spirit -- and in fact in many earthly regards also -- it is all but impossible to come to a rational determination. Often it is all three. We get to a certain point where the facts and "fruits" and aspects peter out and we are left with what some might call an educated guess.
We go with intuition. We rely on a "gut" reaction.
And that's fine; intuition is often a means of discernment when it's done with fasting and prayer. It is "insight." (Note the inclusion of "fasting": many are those who don't fast and have followed falsity as a result, despite other devout attributes).
Without discipline, self-sacrifice, and God, there is no correct discernment.
This is because discernment is a gift.
1 Kings 4:29: "Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore."
1 Kings 3:9:
"So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?"
1 Kings 3:12:
"Behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.
"Moreover, they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean."
A tricky business this is. Note use of the word "heart." How can we discern cleanly if there is the need for purification (especially humility) in our own spirits?
Watch out for those who are too sure of themselves.
Watch also for personalities that rise too quickly, as if to materialize from the ether.
Beware of the loquacious. Cast out before you take in. Test. We discern with our hearts. Schoolbook learning has little to do with it.
There are of course some well-known markers. There is the lack of peace -- a bad marker. We all know this. When we're consistently unnerved although we want to accept a "revelation," we must learn to back off pending further prayerful evaluation (at a distance).
There is the personal life of a person asserting revelations. Is there charity? Is the seer truly humble? Is there a need for recognition?
There are the results of a person's ministry: look not at the first fruits so much as the final ones.
What is beneath the "holiness"?
A plague in Catholicism has been cults of personality that have turned into celebrity. Even the well-intentioned can be deceived. We all have made mistakes. Can we accept as gospel anyone's opinion? We have seen many prominent Catholics whose judgment is accepted as gospel make major errors in this realm. Sometimes, it has unleashed potentially dangerous mystics (who then generate a cult following based on a single personality; this should help us discern); other times, a legitimate mystic may have been wrongly rejected.
We must fast. We must exercise caution. Who is so wise that they do not need to sacrifice? We discern constantly -- and not just in the realm of mysticism. Every moment, in every aspect of life, we make "calls." We make choices. We take a shot. There are discernments about careers, discernments on where to live, discernments on who to date or marry (or befriend); there are discernments, for sure (at this deceptive time), in politics; there are discernments -- even more to the point -- in the practice of religion.
Look beneath the surface.
Be a "fruit inspector."
Is the fruit bruised?
Ask God to lift blinders.
Especially, never assume just because you are devout that you are infallible, for none of us is.
We are in the Age of Bias. Everyone seems to have strong, hardened views (of everything). Discernment goes out the window. Go along with what a certain crowd believes or you are a renegade. There are even Christians spewing anti-Christian views -- and ridiculing as unchristian those who don't go with their politics!
This tells us something is astray.
Any feeling of the cultic -- whether in politics or church -- must be kept at a distance. We are in a time of great deception.
Be especially careful when you are sure too quickly.
Keep an open mind; at the same time, keep a strict faith.
The Lord will tell you how to balance it.
Without God, we end up badly (or at least at dead-ends).
Look back at the major decisions of your life and meditate on whether the bad ones involved God and selflessness which means dispensing of notions that were not conceived in a state of surrender.
[resources: The Lion Roars]
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