The Art of Discernment and Decision-Making

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

The development of discernment and decision-making skills are important for everyone and can help us cultivate a discerning approach to the questions and challenges we face throughout our lives. This moment in our national history is certainly a time when a discerning approach to our present challenges is urgent. I found myself pondering the question of good discernment and decision-making skills this week standing in line on the first day of early voting.  Each of us, masked and socially distanced, were waiting to weigh in on our own decision-making process for the future leaders of our country.

The importance of the path we choose cannot be overstated because our collective decision will have sweeping consequences for justice and peace in this nation.  As I stood in a line with several hundred racially diverse people, from different backgrounds and different perspectives, I began to wonder how each person had made their decision about how they would vote. I imagined that, for most, it would be roughly along political party affiliations. Perhaps, the decision reflected long-held beliefs on particular issues.  However, as I reflected on how people had come to their decision, I prayed that the majority of our voting choices would be rooted in some degree of good decision-making skills and concern for peace, justice and the common good.

Discernment and decision-making is an essential life skill.  Whether our decision is about a voting choice, our vocation, or some other decision or challenge in life, I believe some of the basic elements of discernment can help us in making important decisions. These include:

  • Being open to the truth about ourselves and what we value and believe
  • Openness to praying for wisdom and the grace to allow the Spirit to guide our discernment
  • Seeking information and insight as we weigh the evidence and information gathered
  • Considering any pertinent facts or considerations that may influence the decision

Remember, opportunities for discernment and making decisions in life never ends, and our best decisions involve some level of discernment—some level of seeking the wisdom of the Spirit.

May it be so as we collectively decide our nation’s path in our upcoming elections.

If you feel called to discern a religious vocation as a Sister, I invite you to contact one of our Vocation Ministers.


Pat Dual, OP

Posted in God Calling?

2 responses to “The Art of Discernment and Decision-Making

  1. Thank you Pat, for the necessary reminder that truth and the courage to face it is at the core of authentic discernment.

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