Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for May 16, 2021

Reflection for May 16, 2021

Seeking wisdom

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


05/14/2021 7:54 am

Thank you, Sr. Mary! How much HOLY SPIRIT is NEEDED in These Times! It is so, so very true! The populations of this world have never been greater, meaning the more disasters and wars and famines and sicknesses there are, all the many more peoples suffer.

The consequences of wrong actions, such as ignoring climate change, continuing to support nuclear weapons, feeding the people misinformation and propaganda have never been greater. The technology we now have, the misuse of it and the real threat of Cyberspace 'wars,' the abuse and misuse of power, position, and money within every existing institution that corrupts a system that was meant to serve and heal and help others, and consequently, harms the "least among us," all of these make these very critical times, indeed.

JESUS came for truth. Truth was -- and remains his mission. JESUS' own Spirit is given to us, so that we, too might "see" and "know" and "understand" truth, and rightly so, therefore, recognize lies, and distortions, and misinformation. That surely is the gift of "discernment" you speak of, Mary.

It starts with a "clean heart," a "humbled, contrite heart ......;" a heart that "sees" and "understands" and "knows" that we have fallen short. We have not "heard" or "understood" or "lived" the message of JESUS as fully or as deeply as we are meant to. The "truth," itself, has been "hidden from us," as much of what our experience of 'leadership' has been, has, itself, been ignorant (unaware), arrogant (egotistical), or corrupt.

We NEED HOLY SPIRIT in an ever-more holistic, creative, healing way!

And it begins with the prayer that the earliest disciples prayed from the depths of their own hearts, their own great need, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all ......" (Acts 1:15-17).


Amen, O LORD. Amen.

05/14/2021 1:37 pm

Hi, Mary,

Thanks for this reflection. I appreciate your comments on discernment: prayer, openness, willingness to have one's heart and mind formed by God. Let us ask that we might be one as Jesus and the Father are one!

05/16/2021 9:40 pm

Fear not what may come when you listen with an open heart. Thank you, Sr. Mary.

Linda - 4 paragraphs, instead of 3, please :)
05/17/2021 7:33 am

Thank you both, Mary AND Rose. You are so correct. It is so true. How much we are in need of the gift of discernment, enabling us to recognize deception, distortion, and corruption of "truth" as JESUS and Holy Spirit and Our Heavenly Father (Our Good "DAD," Abba) reveal to us.

We are each and all beloved-blessed-and beautiful-of-G O D, as JESUS knew and understood, just as he knew himself to be. We have not understood or accepted this 'truth' as we are so meant to. The deceptions, distortions, and corruptions have caused enormous sufferings, miseries, oppression, and injustices the world over.

Yes! Let's all pray for the much needed gift of discernment, and for every and all other gifts of the Holy Spirit -- wisdom and good sense over foolish 'non-'sense; knowledge and understanding; right judgment and the courage to act on it; reverence, wonder, and awe. Let us pray for the fullness and depth of HOLY SPIRIT to manifest within and through us, as G O D's LOVE, itself, is poured into our hearts! [Rom. 5:5]


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