Sr. Jean and I were in Dallas last week, giving a discernment workshop to the eleven sections of juniors at Ursuline Academy there. Using prayer, music, clay, film, and much good discussion, students were introduced to the principles and skills of discernment. At the end, the girls worked in pairs on “case studies”, using what they had learned about discernment to arrive at decisions, which were then presented to all in the class. There was candor and laughter, wisdom and creativity.
It was delightful to be with these young women at a time when they are keenly aware that they face some big decisions about their future. Helping them recognize the importance of claiming their gifts and abilities, of asking God to help as they discern good choices, of using their imagination and paying attention to their feelings, of seeking advice from trusted family and friends, of considering pros and cons of various possibilities, and ultimately of making a decision with peace, was a privilege for us.
I am reminded of the quote from the poem, The Summer Day, by Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” It is a question each of us must face, and discernment is a gift of God that helps greatly.