Decision-making is that moment in which the theory of Christian living connects to the everyday circumstances that we must encounter. As important as moral norms and precepts are in informing our consciences and protecting us from spiritual harm, the reality is that we must face multiple situations in which there is no clear right or wrong.
The following 3 principles are integral to helping us discover God’s will and make decisions which draw us closer to him.
1) Spiritual Freedom/ Stillness
This concept gets formulating by different saints using different language, but the principle is consistent enough. Often, our ability to discover God’s will is clouded by disordered patterns of thinking, feeling, and desiring. Our on-going effort must be to come to a place of greater stillness and interior freedom, and this requires regular confession, prayer, and penance. As we shed our layers of attachment to sin and its effects, we begin to discover God’s voice operating within the depths of our renewed interiority.
2) Healing of Memories
Both pleasant and not so pleasant memories can be powerful obstacles to making good decisions. We must learn to be aware of how our attachments to the past may be preventing us from discovering God’s presence in the present. To come to freedom around our memories, we must take time to observe, process, and let go of them all under the guidance of and oriented towards our relationship with Jesus Christ.
3) Connecting with the Love of Jesus Christ
As we come to a place of greater freedom and stillness, we must learn to embrace the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. This must carry with it the recognition that he loves us in the midst of our suffering and our sin. In this way, Christ’s love is unconditional because he gives it freely without us having to earn it. Ultimately, it is the experience of being loved by him which will guide us to the heights of sanctity. The more we learn to experience and rest in Christ’s love, the more we will learn to respond to his voice with complete surrender and obedience. Thus, the unconditional love of Jesus Christ is the touchstone of discernment.
These three principles form the foundation around which we build our spiritual practices and on-going discernment. Hopefully, they can guide you in making better decisions by helping you to reject what is preventing your growth and accept that which will enable you to grow.