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Self-Identity as the Key to Discernment

Posted on February 18th, 2013

Augustine once said that God is always trying to give good things to us but our hands are too full to receive them. Roslyn H. Wright, a Director of Field Education at Whitley College in Australia, visited me in NYC recently. The following are reflections out of her work with seminary students around “Incarnational goal setting”: 1. God’s calls us to courageously lead out of our ‘true self.’ “The problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self” (Thomas Merton). God gives to each of us a “manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” with a unique working out of that gift in the Body and the world. The forces, internal and external, that move us away from that place of leading from within are enormous. 2. Prayer, particularly the Examen, along with a trusted community, is the foundation for this discernment process. She cites the Linn’s classic book, Sleeping With Bread, and their questions to help us become more aware of the movement of God’s work in our lives: When did I feel most alive today? When did I feel life draining out of me? 3. Reflective/contemplative goal setting flows from this process. I spent a couple of rich hours today on this in my own process of discerning God’s priorities for me around writing, leading, speaking.

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Church Culture Revolution: A 6-Part Vision That Deeply Changes Lives