Jesus and the disciples show how praying helps us recognize God's guidance
by Sister Mary Kabat
Reflecting on this Sunday’s Scripture readings from the Acts of the Apostles (1:15-17,20-26) and the Gospel of John (17:11b-19,) the word that came to my mind is DISCERNMENT. I am thinking of this word in its spiritual meaning.
Think about how you have made a major decision – choice of a career or job, purchase of a home or a move to another city or country. Think of all the factors you considered, the people you consulted and the leap of faith you made. Did you pray about your choices, ask God for wisdom, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit? If so, you were discerning in the spiritual sense.
Discernment is a grace, a kind of wisdom and insight that comes from the Holy Spirit that is there for the asking. Discernment is a tool God gives us believers as we walk through life. It starts with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and discernment. It requires openness and a willingness to learn, to have one’s heart and mind formed by God. One who discerns lives ever more Christ-like, ever stronger in faith and more and more able to determine what is right, good and of God’s will.
Let’s return to the Scriptures. In Acts, Peter stands and shares that from reading the Scriptures a replacement must be chosen for Judas Iscariot. He shares wisdom and insight – the person must have been among the disciples from the very beginning of Jesus’ Baptism. The group in prayer recommend two – Barsabbas and Matthias. All then pray for God’s will to be made known, and they gave lots. Matthias is chosen and blessed to take on this vital ministry as one of the Apostles.
In the Gospel, Jesus is praying for his disciples and for us that we be one as Jesus and his Father are one. Think about that! However, Jesus is not asking that we be sheltered from life and its challenges. But he prays that we may be consecrated in truth – dedicated to, blessed by – as he sends us into the world. He sends us with the Holy Spirit as companion and guide, a help for the asking. Let’s all ask!
Resource: Bethany Verrett, Understanding the Spiritual Gift of Discernment