In spiritual discernment the intent is that we act on what we hear, that we obey the signs we see. The word obey derives from the Latin word audire, which means to hear. When you truly hear a sacred message, you obey!
Yet, spiritual discernment is always tentative. We never can be sure that our understanding of what was said is precisely right. So we never proceed with arrogance. We continue to listen even as we move forward, so that the living Spirit of Love and Truth can continue to guide us, recalculating the path as we deviate from it. In other words, we continue in a mode of discernment even as we move ahead.
When it is a group with specified responsibilities that is in discernment around a common issue, it is important to distil the consensus into a clear statement of a single sentence that summarizes the sense of the group. Then, to put into writing a concise plan of action listing who is going to do what to begin the follow-through on the discernment. This includes naming a person who will make sure that these initial tasks are completed. It is crucial to establish a deadline for each to-do item.
Spiritual discernment is a quest to uncover signs that point the way ahead so that we travel in the right direction. Once we see those signs, it is incumbent upon us to follow where they lead.
If we love God, we want to live in harmony with God—we want to hear what God has to say, and we want to act on what we hear.
– Farnham, Gill, McLean, and Ward, Listening Hearts, 20th Anniversary Edition, p. 12
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