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Deepening our Capacity for Discernment: Learning from a lived Experience

by | 6 February 2024 | Blog

To make this missionary impulse ever more focused, generous and fruitful, I encourage each particular Church to undertake a resolute process of discernment, purification and reform


Discernment of how the Holy Spirit is leading the church is at the core of Pope Francis’ vision. At the beginning of this new year, we are happy to launch a learning series on Discernment, drawing from the Pope’s Catechesis and sharing resources and case studies that would help deepen our capacity of being Discerning Leaders. 

In his first Catechesis on Discernment, the Pope recognizes that “Discernment is demanding but indispensable for living. It requires that I know myself, that I know what is good for me here and now. Above all, it requires a filial relationship with God. God is Father and He does not leave us alone, He is always willing to advise us, to encourage us, to welcome us. 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: what can I do now, faced with this alternative? Let it be a sign of greater love, of greater maturity in love. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us! Let us invoke Him every day, especially when we have choices to make.”

As a way to illustrate how we as leaders can facilitate spaces for Discernment, we begin by sharing an example drawn from a three-hour process of Communal Discernment facilitated by Fr. Brian Grogan, an Irish Jesuit, who shared this experience with the ESDAC community. We thank both of them for making it available to publish on our website. 

What can you learn from this example? How can it support processes you lead with your own communities?

About the author

Dr. Brian Grogan, SJ, is a former President of Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Dublin, an Emeritus Associate Professor of Spirituality there. He was also Director and Editor of Sacred Space, a worldwide online prayer site of the Irish Jesuits. He has written extensively on Ignatian spirituality and Discernment and has led workshops for many years.

Additional Resources

In addition to this case, you can find Fr. Grogan’s article “Give the Spirit the Mic” on our DL website. 

Fr Brian is also currently adapting and translating to English the Esdac book “Pratique du discernement en commun” which you can find published in a french version here

The English version is available to pre-order and will be published in June 2024.

Tags in the article: Accompaniment | Coaching | Feedback | leadership
Sandra Chaoul

Sandra Chaoul

Director of the Accompaniment Community for Discerning Leadership

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