As a Jesuit, our tradition stresses much on this term discernment. It is not sure how many of us really practices it. I can say honestly that I do practice it occasionally, though I like to do it more often. In Christian faith tradition, it is intimately connected to faith and our relationship with God; an invitation to understand what God wants from us.
Pope Francis has called a Synod of Bishops in 2018 on the theme, ‘Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment’. Everybody has a vocation (not just limited to priesthood/religious life). Youth needs help/guidance to discern this. (it is guidance, not commanding them to do this, finally choice is theirs). For a Christian, it is done in the context of our faith.
What could be the guiding parameters for making choices? I can’t (none can) make a generalized list of parameters for making choices. When I say this, it also includes that my guiding parameters can’t be an absolute freedom; it can’t infringe on the freedom of others. This happens many a times when the tribals/others are displaced from their lands without a proper system. Surely freedom is essential to make use of guiding parameters and discern the choices. Some of my parameters are
- I believe I am created by God to live a life in its fullness. Which of the options help for that?
- Is it beneficial for the society at large?
Surely these parameters originated from my faith convictions and from my life experiences. All of us should find our own guiding parameters (it may change and evolve in time; it is not changing for the convenience of it). As a Jesuit, I feel I have a responsibility to help young and not so young to create these parameters and to help them to live a life of discernment, thus to be an AUTHENTIC HIM/HER.