#CaminoWisdom and Becoming a Discerning Person

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

Ok, I thought by now that I would be finished figuring out what wisdom and blessings I received on the Camino.  Yet, they continue to be revealed to me as I reflect, journal, look at my pictures, and prepare to share our story with our local community.  You see, we, Sisters Ana, Barb, and I, are planning a Tapas party this Friday – which will include a variety of tapas, salsa music, some dancing with castanets al la Ana, short videos of our adventures and the sharing of stories, memories, and bits of wisdom we discovered.

With each picture and journal entry I revisit, I remember the moments of challenge, hope, wonder, and nuggets of wisdom.  The #caminowisdom I am mulling over at present is, Adopt the pace of nature.

Have you ever stopped to watch the grass wave in the wind?  I have and this is what I discovered as I sat on a log, under the shade of a grape arbor somewhere between Caldas de Reis and Padron, Spain.

I had been walking rapidly for quite some time and all of a sudden, I felt the need to stop.  To just stop in the middle of the path.  Ok, I thought – why am I stopping?  Then, I heard my rapid breathing & heartbeat. . and I consciously slowed my breathing and in turn, my heartbeat began to slow and I began to hear the birds.  Then, I noticed the breeze gently caressing the grass in the fields.  It bent and swayed with the breeze and seemed to be dancing.  It was then that I slipped off my backpack and sat down.  Sitting on a worn log that had supported the weight of hundreds – if not thousands of pilgrims – I just . . . sat.  Having stilled my body and opened my ears and eyes, I then opened up my heart and listened for the Spirit.  The spirit spoke and I heard the call to embrace the pace of nature – to slow down and be in the present moment with God.  I sat for a while, then stood and proceeded on the way – at a slower, more recollected pace – the pace of nature.

In the discernment process, we are likewise called to slow down, quiet ourselves, and listen so that we can truly hear God’s voice.  In the book, The Way of Discernment:  Spiritual Practices for Decision Making, Elizabeth Liebert, Elizabeth Liebert invites us to slow down, and to discover that, “Practicing discernment experimentally will help you adapt the tradition of discernment to your own life and to begin to become a discerning person.  In discerning about your own issues, as God leads you, you will meet God in and through your own life.”[1]  This is what we are called to embrace as we discern our vocational call, our next ministry, a commitment to a course of study, significant social justice action, or how to respond to other major life issues.  In my own discernment, it was not until I slowed down and committed myself to the serious pursuit of the voice of God that I came to hear my call to religious life.  Now, I walk with others as they sift through the noise of daily life to hear that still small voice of God.  It is a pilgrimage that may not require you to buy new hiking boots, but it is certainly one that will lead you to follow God’s footprints on the path of your life.  Dare you stop and listen?

If you are ready to stop and listen, contact us to begin your discernment journey or perhaps attend our next Mission for Peace – prayer and service program later this month in Kansas.

[1] Liebert, The Way of Discernment, p. xi.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

2 responses to “#CaminoWisdom and Becoming a Discerning Person

  1. Back home, we’d call that ripple of the wind on a field of grain “the Hand of God.” It does call us to slow and look in wonder.

  2. June,
    Look how the grass spoke to your heart to realize to slow down and BE in rhythm with nature that surrounds us each day. If we are silent enough, we will hear wonderful messages. Continue pilgrim, to live in wonder and awe.

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