The Vatican

Pope Francis begins catechesis on discernment

Pope Francis begins a new cycle of catechesis for his Wednesday public audiences. This time on the human reality of personal "discernment" that is so often necessary in our daily lives.

Javier Garcia-August 31, 2022-Reading time: 2 minutes

Photo: Pope Francis upon his arrival at the August 31 audience. ©CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope Francis has dedicated the last six months to a catechesis on the elderly and their role in the family, the Church and the world. Beginning this Wednesday, August 31, he will begin to reflect on "discernment" in audiences. "Discernment" - these are the Pope's words - "is an important act that concerns everyone, because choices are an essential part of life. One chooses food, clothes, a course of study, a job, a relationship. In all of them a life project is realized, and also our relationship with God".

Deciding involves using our intelligence, evaluating our interests and affections, involving our will to follow the good we want. Thus, a few months lie ahead in which the Pontiff will reflect on very anthropological questions.

The effort to decide

As Ortega rightly explained, human life is not a closed project, but one that man must decide for himself countless times each day. For this reason, Pope Francis pointed out that "discernment implies an effort. According to the Bible, we do not find before us, already packaged, the life we are to live. God invites us to evaluate and choose: he created us free and wants us to exercise our freedom. Discernment is therefore a challenge.  

We have often had this experience: choosing something we thought was good and instead it wasn't. Or knowing what our true good was and not choosing it. Or knowing what our true good was and not choosing it. Man, unlike animals, can make mistakes, can be unwilling to choose correctly. The Bible demonstrates this from its very first pages. God gives man a precise instruction: if you want to live, if you want to enjoy life, remember that you are a creature, that you are not the criterion of good and evil, and that the choices you make will have a consequence, for you, for others and for the world (cf. Gen 2:16-17); you can make the earth a magnificent garden or you can turn it into a desert of death. A fundamental teaching: it is not by chance that this is the first dialogue between God and man. 

Discernment is exhausting

With humor, Pope Francis pointed out that "discernment is exhausting but indispensable for living". If, in addition, one is in charge of special family responsibilities The Holy Father recommends to keep in mind the divine filiation: "God is the Father and does not leave us alone. To achieve this, the Holy Father recommends keeping in mind divine filiation: "God is Father and does not leave us alone; he is always ready to advise us, to encourage us, to welcome us, but he never imposes his will. But he never imposes his will. Why? Because he wants to be loved and not feared. And love can only be lived in freedom. To learn to live, one must learn to love, and for this it is necessary to discern.

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