- Text Size
Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop
Why do you not know how to interpret the present time? (Luke 12:56)
Psychologists tell us that we make as many as two hundred conscious decisions every day. Some are small, and others carry profound consequences. Wouldn’t it be great if we could make the right decision all the time? In a sense, Jesus’ words on discerning the signs of the times stand behind this concern. If we could only know what God wants, we would find it a lot easier to decide!
God’s will isn’t meant to be mysterious and unapproachable. In fact, Scripture is filled with the conviction that it is possible to understand spiritual realities. In his book What Does God Want? Fr. Michael Scanlan proposes five basic questions to ask when facing an important decision.
First: Does it conform to God’s law as revealed through Scripture, tradition, and the teaching of the Church? If it doesn’t, we can’t do it.
Second: Does it foster growth in holiness? As we make decisions that deepen our union with God, the life of Christ will become more evident in our lives.
Third: Is it consistent? Many of our decisions will flow directly from previous decisions—providing, of course, that our previous decisions have borne good fruit! God may give us new challenges and take us in new directions, but he tends to reveal them in a manner consistent with how he has spoken to us in the past.
Fourth: What confirms it? After we make a decision, God usually sends some confirmation, maybe by opening doors that were once closed, by revealing needed resources, or by affirming words spoken by a trusted friend. Of course, there are times when we just have to decide on something and then examine its fruit. Experience isn’t the best teacher; evaluated experience is!
Fifth: What does your heart say? We should cautiously consider the difference between the peace of the heart and the conclusion of the mind. The head may say yes, but until the heart is convinced, we may experience “decision gridlock.” This doesn’t mean that we will like everything God asks us to do. But deep down, we will want to do it.
God is not playing hide-and-seek. When we seek his help in making key decisions, he will guide us.
“Father, I know that you want the best for me. Help me in all the challenging decisions I face.”
Ephesians 4:1-6; Psalm 24:1-6
Want more? Subscribe and receive full online access.
Access our entire archive of articles and daily meditations with a Print or Web Edition subscription. View subscription options.
Special Offer: Free Two Week Web Trial Subscription. Sign up now.
Print Subscribers: Full Web Access is Free! Login for full access.