Last December 15, the Leadership and Management Program (LMP) under the Office of the President held its Discernment Talk, LMP Graduation, and LMP Transit: Synthesis at the SS Conference Room 3 and 4 from 4:30 to 7:30 PM.
The Discernment Talk started with a prayer and opening remarks from Ateneo Gabay President Kirk Jamison, where he gave an overview of the activities that were going to take place. After his opening remarks, Bro. Edryan Paul “Ed” Colmenares, SJ, a graduate of BS/M AMF 2010, an active member of YFC and ASLA in his undergraduate years, proceeded to talk about Ignatian Discernment.
Bro. Ed began by outlining his talk through the prayer of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, who wrote, “Grant me, O Lord, to see everything now with new eyes, to discern and test the spirits that help me read the signs of the times, to relish the things that are yours, and to communicate them to others. Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius.”
According to Bro. Ed, most think of discernment as a choice between two goods, and the reason why we need to discern is to make sense of what is happening inside of us. Taking from his own life and the stories of other people in his life, he then gave a deeper understanding of discernment by giving two preliminaries to discernment: clarity of desire and an understanding of internal movements.
It is necessary in discernment that we are honest to ourselves about our desires, even if often they are a mix of noble and selfish ones. Indeed, it is in discernment that these desires are purified, and good questions to ask ourselves are, “Is it our nobler desires that get the best of us?” “Am I (and can I be) what the community needs?” The second preliminary is the understanding of the two internal movements: consolation, which is a movement towards God and others, and desolation, which is movement away from God and others. A choice can either cause consolation or desolation.
How and when do we discern?
Bro. Ed explained that we discern in relation to an “other” whether it is a value, a cause, or a person. This is why discernment involves a lot of data gathering, and how much we know the “other” would affect our discernment. This data may change over time, and thus, discernment is not static. “Things change” and we should never be complacent. St. Ignatius gave three moments where one could discern. The third moment is a moment of clear mind and emotion, and one could list the advantages and disadvantages of his/her choices. The first moment is the moment of great clarity, where there is intense consolation similar to Moses’ experience at the burning bush. The second moment is where the discernment of spirits (or simply, emotions) comes in.
Bro. Ed ended his talk with a few more tips like seeking confirmation by asking the Lord for a sense of consolation when plunging into the decision, whole-hearted commitment, imagining our daily lives after our choice, and recognizing that “it’s always our effort with God’s grace.”
LMP Graduation and Transit Synthesis
LMP Graduation followed the talk, where members who attended at least three of the LMP events received certificates. After the graduation, Kirk led the LMP Transit Synthesis with a recap of the Transit experience which was intended for members aspiring to run for a leadership position in Gabay.
Article written by Lyonel Tanganco, 2 BS ME