Discernment: Learning to Fall in Love & Stay in Love

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 10:37 PM PDT

Sometimes making the transition from student to alum is challenging. After being in a supportive community like Seattle U where each person is valued for their whole self, finding places or communities outside of university life which help you to learn and grow into your best self can take a while to find (believe us, they do exist!) Wherever life takes you, whether as a soon-to-be alum or more experienced alum moving through life transitions, be sure to lead with this one reminder: Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

Former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., prayed the following:

Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. 

What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. 

It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. 

Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

What if we looked at our lives as one big unfolding endeavor of love, where what we chose to be and do was out of a place of love?  Imagine how generative we would be with our talents, skills, and pursuits if we could intentionally listen how to God (Love) is calling us to become our true selves. Consider asking yourself these questions:

Who do I spend my time with?

What do I spend my time doing?

Where do I feel pulled or drawn in in my life?

Where do I feel expectations pushing me, like I “should” rather than “want” to do?

How do I see God active in my everyday life?

Jesuit tools like Ignatian Discernment help us to create a space to ask these questions on a regular basis. St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits and animator of Jesuit education, came up with this method to enable his companions in finding God in all places of their lives. Practicing discernment can assist in developing self-awareness and an overall “attitude of gratitude”. 

Here is a short version of the Examen – go ahead, give it a try!

1. Become aware of God’s presence. Pause for a few moments to be quiet and still.

2. Review the day with gratitude. Take a moment to give thanks for all that you experienced as gift.

3. Pay attention to your emotions. Scan the day and see where your energy was life-giving or life-draining.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Identify where you would like to grow and change.

5. Look toward tomorrow. Ask for the light or grace needed to live more fully next time.

Want to learn more about Ignatian Discernment? Visit resources on Ignatian Spirituality by clicking on this link