Overview: Discovering a New Dimension

As the core of the Listening Hearts Program, discernment training teaches the fundamental principles of spiritual discernment and the practical aspects of implementing those principles. But more significantly, it offers a setting where participants can experience the practice of discernment firsthand. Frequently, this experience introduces a new dimension into their relationship with God. Often those who have been trained find themselves interacting with people at home and at work in new and satisfying ways. To the extent that the training opens up the power of God in their daily lives, they transmit that energy to the life of the church. They become emissaries who carry the spirit of discernment into the parish. The quality of life within a congregation tends to deepen as more of its members are trained in discernment.

Everyone who has been trained is invited to be part of a discernment ministry team, a group that provides opportunities for the faith community to learn about spiritual discernment and offers discernment groups for persons seeking God’s guidance around specific problems and issues. A discernment ministry team is a small group of people with a big job. Collectively, they need to keep track of many threads and numerous details.

This manual capsulizes important aspects of the program. It is designed to be used in conjunction with the Listening Hearts series of books, Listening Hearts brochures and book fliers, and the Listening Hearts’ Handbook for Training Discernment Ministry Teams. Each person actively involved in discernment ministry can be given a copy of this manual for ready reference.

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