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In a world filled with constant information and differing opinions, accordingly, it can be challenging to uncover the truth. That’s where the gift of discernment comes in. It plays a vital role in helping us recognize God’s presence and make informed decisions.

Understanding Discernment


Firstly, discernment is a supernatural gift that enables individuals to sense the spiritual source of something. It reminds us that there is an objective truth and a source from which all things emanate. Furthermore, it helps us grasp the deeper meaning and purpose behind our choices, actions, and the world around us.

The Process of Discernment


However, specific situations active discernment. Being open to the Holy Spirit, acknowledging God’s presence, and actively seeking guidance are crucial in developing and practicing discernment. Furthermore, it requires a deep connection to our faith, regular prayer, and aligning ourselves with the teachings of the Church.

Challenges and Benefits


While some individuals may have a natural inclination towards discernment, possessing this charism does not mean that one’s spiritual life will be obstacle-free. Challenges may arise, and tough decisions may need to be made. However, the gift of discernment ultimately allows us to make choices rooted in the divine wisdom. It brings clarity in times of confusion.

In the Church Community


Finally, individuals have the ability to help understand God’s intentions, identify spiritual influences, and guide others in making sound decisions. Combining discernment with encouragement creates a powerful skill set for counseling and understanding spiritual sources.


The Holy Spirit bestows the precious gift of discernment. It allows us to uncover the truth, make informed decisions, and recognize God’s presence in our lives. Whether we are naturally inclined towards it or desire to cultivate this charism, we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance. This deepens our faith practices and aligns us with the teachings of the Church. As we develop discernment, we not only deepen our own spiritual lives but also become valuable assets to the larger Catholic community, offering clarity, encouragement, and wisdom to those around us.

Learn more at Many Parts Ministries.

Jill Simons [00:00:00]:

Hello and welcome to Charisms for Catholics. My name is Jill Simons and I’m the executive director at Many Parts Ministries where we equip the Body of Christ by helping people learn about and discern their charisms, which is really another word for spiritual gifts. When you discern your charisms, you’re able to see how the Holy Spirit is already active in your life and where he is inviting you to further build the Church. Let’s dive in. Today we’re talking about discernment, which is one of the big, confusing, struggle bus charisms that a lot of people get confused about. So very excited to dive in and disambiguate this one today. In a nutshell, discernment is about the supernatural empowerment of an individual to really sense the spiritual source of something. So that’s going to be our simplest definition: intuitively sensing the spiritual source of something, whether that source is God, whether that source is from us as humans, or whether that source is demonic.

Jill Simons [00:01:09]:

So the textbook discernment charism person is the person that walks into a room and is like, something is not right here. I don’t like this room. Or conversely, this is just a wonderful place. Like, I just really am aware of the presence of God here. I know that God is here in this place, here in this person, here in this decision, whatever the situation might be. When you have a discernment charism, that doesn’t mean that you have an awareness of this about everything at all times in all areas of your life universally. This is something that you have a tendency towards that is used in some situations or said another way, the Holy Spirit takes advantage of in some situations to give you clarity about the spiritual source of something. But that does not make you like an infallible oracle.

Jill Simons [00:02:05]:

You’re not going to go into every situation and just know perfectly and beyond a shadow of a doubt what’s going on and why and what you should do and everything else. Discernment is really about God giving us that window, the larger Church, that window into what is going on through specific people. So this is one of those charisms, like a lot that we’re coming to on the list here as we move through it in alphabetical order, where there’s a natural level that we’re all called to function at. And then there’s the charism level, which individuals within the Church are called to. So natural discernment looks like seeking the Holy Spirit to help us sense the spiritual source of something. So we’re going to the Holy Spirit in prayer. We’re building up our spiritual sensitivity through our practices of our faith. And it’s really a more effort-filled event for the rest of us to grow in discernment.

Jill Simons [00:03:08]:

It’s something where we are constantly trying to tune our ear to what is the Holy Spirit saying and what’s going on here, and we can grow in that on the natural level. And for a lot of us, that is an important part of the journey of growth that God wants to take us on, giving us this area where we really need to make a lot of investment in order to progress. Discernment as a charism, you have people who this hasn’t been an effort-filled thing for them to grow in this specific sliver of the spiritual life. And that’s what I want to keep in mind as we keep moving forward into things that all of us are called to on some level. Having the charism of discernment is not a get out of jail free card. Your spiritual life is easy. This is a specific sliver of the spiritual life that comes very naturally to you because God has given that to you as a grace for the larger community. And so what does that mean? What is a person with discernment being called to bring to the larger community? There’s a few things.

Jill Simons [00:04:18]:

Number one, being a sense that there is clarity. And there is clarity to be sought about where things come from. In this age of relativism and everybody kind of doing their own thing and having their own truth, it can be very tempting, even for people who are following their Catholic faith to fall into this kind of heresy of feeling like, well, it’s just kind of relative. It just depends. People with discernment are that true north within our communities of saying, no, this is demonic, this is something that is evil and it doesn’t matter how you package it or whose truth it is, the clarity about that source remains. And these people help us remember that there is objective truth, that there is a source of all things, whether God, human or demonic. And having clarity about what that source is is going to give us clarity about what we should do about that input, whatever it is. And so these people walk with others through decisions, help them understand where stuff is coming from and whether something is a decision they should make or not.

Jill Simons [00:05:36]:

These people help organizations understand what God is doing in a given situation. These people will help others have clarity about where God is moving and active in their life or what they need to move away from because there’s negative influences going on in their lives. So there’s a variety of different expressions. And this, like celibacy that we’ve already talked about, really gets flavored by the other charisms that it’s in conjunction with. So there’s basically endless permutations of combinations of charisms that you can have. Which is really cool, but also really frustrating because I can’t speak to every single possible combination because there’s so many. But when you look at discernment, a lot of times you look at what it is with to help you understand really how that is being applied. So to give you a couple of examples to kind of illustrate my point. Discernment with wisdom is very often given to people that are going to be in key decision making roles. So understanding the source of something while also understanding what God is doing in a situation to be able to make decisions.

Jill Simons [00:07:02]:

So that’s kind of your one two punch powerhouse for somebody in a decision making role, discernment and wisdom. Now, this doesn’t have to be within an individual. This can be within two people on a staff or two people in a committee together. But putting those things together are what helps us make good decisions as a Church. Similarly, when you put maybe discernment with encouragement, that’s when you have a really readily available set of skills to be excellent at counseling people. You have this tendency to be able to understand the spiritual source of something. And then you also have this ability to be this conduit of God’s encouragement. So that even if it’s a situation where someone is engaged in something with a negative spiritual source, there is a clear route for you from the Holy Spirit on how to encourage this person out of it versus shaming them out of it. And really, that’s a place where you are given the language through your encouragement charism to communicate the discernment.

Jill Simons [00:08:15]:

So that’s just a couple of examples of how you use this charism gets colored by what it is in tandem with. And so if you have questions about any specific combinations with discernment, I’d love to make more specific content about that. Go ahead and drop us an email or leave us a comment. I would love to dive into that if there’s specific questions about it. Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics. If you would like to learn more about your charisms or begin your own discernment journey, head to our website at manypartsministries.com where you can download our free PDF guide to all 24 charisms and also begin your own journey by taking our charism assessment.

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