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Heart of discernment: to put oneself in the school of Jesus

The Church reflects on young people in the XV Synod of Bishops


Even in a world torn by difficulties and contradictions it is possible to experience a path of discernment modeled on that of the apostles who met and followed the Lord. The expressions that Pope Francis addresses to young people are very significant, urging them to turn to the Lord on their journey of growth.

"I would also remind you of the words that Jesus once said to the disciples who asked him: "Teacher [...] where are you staying?" He replied, "Come and see" (Jn 1:38). Jesus looks at you and invites you to go with him. Dear young people, have you noticed this look towards you? Have you heard this voice? Have you felt this urge to undertake this journey? I am sure that, despite the noise and confusion seemingly prevalent in the world, this call continues to resonate in the depths of your heart so as to open it to joy in its fullness. This will be possible to the extent that, even with professional guides, you will learn how to undertake a journey of discernment to discover God's plan in your life. Even when the journey is uncertain and you fall, God, rich in mercy, will extend his hand to pick you up".

Experiencing the presence and love of Christ is a valid and current answer for young people and for every man of good will who wishes to direct his life by placing himself in the line of the divine will. The experience of the apostles is still very timely today.

Indeed,
"As a result of their courage to go and see, the disciples will experience the abiding friendship of Christ and will be able to pass each day with him. They will ponder his words and be inspired by them; and will be deeply affected and moved by his actions. John, in particular, will be called to be a witness of the Passion and Resurrection of his Master. At the Last Supper (cf. Jn 13.21 to 29), the intimate nature of their relationship will lead him to rest his head on Jesus' chest and to trust his every word. In following Simon Peter to the house of the high priest, John will face the night of suffering and loneliness (cf. Jn 18:13-27). At the foot of the Cross, he will endure the profound grief of his Mother, entrusted to him, while accepting the responsibility of taking care of her (cf. Jn 19:25-27). On Easter morning, he will share with Peter the frenzied yet hope- filled race towards the empty tomb (cf. Jn 20:1-10). Finally, during the miraculous draught of fish at the Sea of Galilee (cf. Jn 21:1-14), he will recognize the Risen Lord and will give testimony to the entire community. John's example can be of assistance in understanding that the vocational experience is a gradual process of inner discernment and growth in the faith, which leads to discovering the fullness of the joy of life and love, making a gift of oneself and participating in the proclamation of the Good News".

The Bible offers food for thought to guide one's own path of discernment, thanks to many people who organize their lives according to what God makes them understand. It is necessary, however, to have an attitude of constant listening in order to perceive the voice of the Lord, among the many that cross our existence, and of continuous inner freedom from what can hinder the process of understanding. The heart of man and his conscience are the places in which it is possible to welcome the divine invitations, so important for his own personal journey.

Indeed,
"Life and history teach that human beings cannot easily recognize the concrete form of that joy to which God calls each one and to which each one aspires, let alone at the present time of change and widespread uncertainty. At other times, persons have to deal with discouragement or the pressure of other emotional attachments that stalls a person on the path to the fulfilment. Many people experience this; for example, the young man who had too many riches which kept him from accepting the call of Jesus, and because of this, went away sad, rather than full of joy (cf. Mk 10:17-22). Human freedom, despite the fact that it always needs to be purified and perfected, never loses the fundamental capacity to recognize the good and carrying it out".

The attitude of listening and openness is facilitated by an ascetic action, which tends to clear away attachments and lusts that end up interposing between the talk of God and the heart of man. He is called to make this communication transparent and clear in order to be able to use his discernment as well as possible. Furthermore, it is very important to preserve the climate of contemplation, characterized by a profound intimacy with the Lord and we perceive that He is close to us, full of love and tenderness towards those who intend to fulfill his will. This perception gives great inner peace and greatly facilitates our decision making.


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