Which path will you choose?

“Never say or do anything until you have asked yourself whether it will be pleasing to God, good for yourself, and edifying to your neighbor.” St Ignatius of Loyola

In discernment, there are always two paths. One leads to God’s will and the other to your will. Which will you choose? And how do you know which is which?

I think these two paths can be broken down into more paths in the decision making. Each can have a variety of answers aligned with God’s will or your will; but there are always two main paths.

Today is the feast day of St Ignatius of Loyola. St Ignatius started the society of Jesus and is also known for his spiritual exercises. In his spiritual exercises, he teaches his pupils to meditate in prayer, seeking indifference, to contemplate their feelings and to ponder the spiritual movement of those feelings.

Why feelings? Our feelings tell us what our deepest desires are. If God has control over our desires and He places them in our hearts, then we should search our deepest desires for direction. Just as in the picture above where a red flower has grown in the center of the trees between the two paths, God is at the center of our being. When we have feelings that are joyful, satisfying, fulfilling that gives us life coming from this core, then we know with no uncertainty those are from God. The choices in life that produce these feelings within that center are from God. This, my friends, leads us to the path aligned with the will of God.

What happens if I choose the other path, the path of my will? Will I be struck down by lightening? Will God be disappointed in me? By no means will God bring wrath upon you or discontent. There are no wrong paths as long as they do not involve sin. God will walk with you no matter the path. A wise person told me the flower in the middle of the path can also represent that God will bring fruition on both paths, whichever we choose.

Why discern if God will bring fruition upon either path? I think it is important to search and make the best choice. Perhaps in doing so, one will bring more joy and peace in fulfilling the will of God and the other less. One will be more life giving than the other, yet God is still present in both.

As you discern your life choices, don’t forget to include God in your discernment. Don’t forget to search deep within to identify with your deepest desire and ponder the feelings that bring exuberant life.

Journey in the Woods

Take a journey with me into the woods.  The morning air is brisk, yet calm and peaceful.  As you embark into the woods, you aren’t sure where the journey will take you.  You just know that God knows.  This journey you are pursuing is not just an earthly journey through the woods, but a spiritual journey.  Your mind is open to what God wants you to see, hear, smell, or touch.  It is His tour.  He is guiding you through the trails laid before you.  As you enter the woods, everything looks brown with no room for color.  Suddenly you hear a choir from Heaven, a delight to your ears, as the birds sing a beautiful tune to you and the creek beside you flows along enhancing the rhythm.  As you walk along, the leaves beneath your feet crunch with each step and sprinkled throughout, you see signs of life, of hope, as you marvel at the tiny purple flowers along the path.  There is life and beauty amongst the dullness and death.  There are many knots along the way reminding you of the tangles and knots in your life.  If only God could help you sort them and find the base of their entanglement.  Further into the path, the creek is jammed and the flow of the water finds another route.  The gentle peaceful flow begins to flow faster and more rapid when obstacles are in its way.  Yet the creek continues to flow despite the changes.  You finally reach a clearing, your destination to talk with God about all you have seen, to understand what He is telling you through all that you have seen, heard, smelt or touched.  He looks at you and asks you, have you seen the beauty in the midst of the dullness, in the knots, and in the obstacles?  You ponder His question and realize that all that you have seen are parallels to your life, the sorrow, lack of joyful moments, the entanglements and adversity.  Then you realize that in the midst of this, you have also seen hope, beauty and peaceful surrender.  At this very moment, you realize that the scenery before you was perfectly placed, just as the things in your life have been perfectly placed.  You sit in the clearing for a moment and surrender your will, knowing that the fruit of what you have seen, heard, touched or smelt in the woods, despite the wilderness surrounding you, is a result of hope and life.  At that moment, you feel peaceful, unafraid, and joyful because you are loved and you are not alone.  Your journey bears fruit in the midst of all things, including adversity and sorrow.  As you begin to journey out, you see a butterfly leading your way, a sign of your transformation from death to life.

Ever feel like God is playing Hide-N-Seek?

Ever feel like God is playing hide n seek with you? He is hidden and you are seeking. Ever sit in prayer longing for God to speak to you, to answer your prayers, your cries for guidance? Or may be in a moment where you find the enemy, his temptation but you can’t find God to help you through the temptation. It’s like God is hidden. God is not hidden even when it appears as so. Look at the sun rise, the sun set, the trees, the flowers, the bees, the birds, etc. God is present all around us. He is anything but hidden, so why do we seek so fervently? Perhaps, we are not present to God? Perhaps it is our own desire we are seeking, our own satisfaction of comfort and gratification, having something tangible to know God is there. All the while, He is sitting there waiting, saying I’m here, seek my presence right next to you, within you, in this very moment. That’s where you will find me. I am not hidden, see me in the color of that flower, or in the ridges of the tree, or the designs in the clouds or even in the storm that you went through yesterday. Your inner heart is where you will really go to find me. Place your trust in me, I will never let you fall into the enemies grips, I will guide your journey if you just trust I’m with you, all around you. There is no need to seek when I am not hidden.IMG_1068