Discernment is accessing the wisdom of our intuition to discover what is essential and true. Detaching from our desire to rush decisions, we seek to distinguish the true from the false, the facts from our assumptions, and then choose the best path. Reflecting in silence creates space for our deepest perceptions. With contemplative vigilance, we open ourselves to clarity. We listen deeply for the true questions, trusting that the answer will unfold and reveal itself when the time is right. We become alert to the messages that come in subtle and surprising ways. We hold decisions lightly until the truth emerges. Discernment empowers us to be guided by Grace.

In Family Life

The virtue of discernment in a family is exemplified through thoughtful and perceptive decision-making that prioritizes the well-being and harmony of the household. It is demonstrated through open and empathetic communication, where family members actively listen to one another’s perspectives and consider various viewpoints before making important choices. Discernment also involves:

  • Differentiating between right and wrong.
  • Teaching children moral values and ethical principles.
  • Guiding them in making responsible decisions.

In a discerning family, conflicts are resolved through constructive dialogue rather than impulsive reactions, fostering an environment of mutual respect, trust, and understanding among its members. Ultimately, discernment in a family leads to a cohesive unit that navigates life’s challenges with wisdom and unity.


Reflection and action must never be undertaken independently.

— Paulo Friere

 The Practice of Discernment

  • I trust my inner vision.
  • I seek full information.
  • I release the pressure to decide by determination alone.
  • I take time for reflection and prayer.
  • I hone my intuition.
  • I am alert to the signs placed in my path.
  • I am open to revelation.

Balancing Discernment

To maintain a healthy and balanced sense of discernment, several virtues can come to our aid:

      • Wisdom: Wisdom is the virtue that helps us make sound judgments and decisions. It complements discernment by providing the knowledge and experience to assess situations accurately.
      • Courage: Courage allows us to act on our discernment and make choices even when they may be difficult or unpopular. It helps us trust our intuition and move forward confidently.
      • Patience: Patience is essential in the practice of discernment. It encourages us to wait for clarity and not rush into decisions prematurely. Patience ensures that we give ourselves the time needed to make informed choices.
      • Humility: Humility reminds us that our discernment is not infallible. It keeps us open to the possibility of being wrong and encourages us to seek guidance and input from others when necessary.

Discernment is a valuable virtue that can guide us toward truth and wisdom. However, it must be balanced to avoid the pitfalls of overanalysis or impulsivity. By cultivating virtues like wisdom, courage, patience, and humility, we can ensure that our discernment remains a reliable and effective tool on our journey through life.