Mistakes and Lessons on Discernment


The year 2014 is about to wrap up.

Minutes before I finally call it history, let me just go down the memory lane, but not just some months past–but a decade ago.

The year was 2004.

I was supposed to be  a novice-to-be on the very eve of our supposed flight to Cebu for our novitiate formation.

But events suddenly took an awkward turn. I left the seminary.

The turnout of events caught me breathless. Things were so fast that the next time I knew it, I had to start looking for a job because it had been almost three months since I left. I felt that I had to move on. And I thought, the best way to do it is to have a work so that I could be busy with something.

After a year, something was taking shape within; despite the fat pay check I was receiving, the prestige of working as a teacher in a respectable academic institution in the country, the fulfillment of doing what I liked doing the most, I felt that I was not satisfied. That moment, I got in touch with my spiritual director;

I told him of my situation.

And then, we talked about the process of my re-admission.

Irony of ironies, it was on a Good Friday that I got settled with my decision.

The universal Church was recalling the agony of Jesus that day, but within me, I found calm and serenity.

And so, here are the lessons.

First, the time factor was foremost; an important decision ought not to be rushed. My seminary formators made me realize the value of withholding an important decision if I am in the state of desolation, or on the extreme state of consolation.

Decisions are best handled when things are still.

Second, I discovered that a spiritual director who helps me understand what God wills for me is vitally important. He (or even she) does not tell me what to do, but he sees things in a bigger, and perhaps, better perspective. Hence, he may be able to see things which I did not even consider. He could even point out internal trends which I may not be conscious of.

Before I leap, it is safer to hear from him.

Third is the importance of listening to one’s heart. I see this aspect as very important from the hindsight. I only considered what my mind told me. I did not have the time to listen to what my heart was whispering to me. I grieved when I left the seminary; I thought that it’s just natural. But the entire two years, I was grieving, it must have been different. I would not have discovered this profound sadness had I listened only to what my mind was telling me.

My heart was telling me something different.

Finally, listening to my desires, is fundamental. While it is true that not all desires are authentic, and therefore ought to be attended to, it is salient just the same, to be attuned to it.

That one desired which I mentioned above did not only set me free from my grief.

Because it touched my greatest depths, it gave me the chance to see the possibility of a life of wholeness and not of a mere patchwork.


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