05_Our Rule of Life, Discernment

Discernment of spirits used to solely mean “diagnosing” whether someone was led by the Holy Spirit or the enemy. But it’s more complicated than that, isn’t it? The same person, even holy people, can be influenced by both the Holy Spirit and the enemy.

Ignatius of Loyola compiled and systematized the Desert Fathers’ tradition of discernment, so that now we understand “discernment of spirits” to mean deciding for oneself or another what must be attributed to the Holy Spirit, and what comes from one’s own imagination or the suggestion of the enemy. Because St. Ignatius of Loyola’s rules for discernment are so substantial, I have included a simplified version specific to discerning whether we are hearing from the Holy Spirit or not. (Copy, paste, print, and share!)

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L | Listen (Receive the Word via audio or video.)


O | Observe (Connect the passage to your life and recent events.)

What decision are you trying to make right now for which you can use the Rules for Discernment to determine how the Holy Spirit is leading you? Are you also looking for His answer in your circumstances and in the daily readings?

V | Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)

Remembering that He loves you and that you are in His presence, talk to God about the particulars of your O – Observe step. You may want to write your reflections in your LOVE the Word® journal. Or, get a free journal page and guide in the right-hand margin.

E | Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen. +

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What We Discussed | Show Notes


Minutes 00:00-12:00 – what it means to pray “in Jesus’ Name”; rules of life and faith in religious communities and for each of us; how the Holy Spirit reveals Himself in Scripture and teaches through the Church

Minutes 12:01-24:00 – the Church as the “pillar and foundation of truth,” not the Bible (1Tim 3:15); “no Scripture is of private interpretation” (2Pet 1:20); the HS preserves the Church and us from error

Minutes 24:01-36:00 – love and obedience first: 1) Choose, 2) Deny Him nothing, 3) Remember the seasons; two types of HS inspirations; good and bad vs good and best 

Minutes 36:01-48:00 – rules for discerning the HS’s voice


Click here for a transcript of the show.