One of the important ideas that comes through the Ignatian tradition is the importance of learning to discern the better from the good. The underlying presumption here is that the one discerning is actively trying to live a good Christian life. The one discerning is therefore able to distinguish good from bad. And is actively trying to make good choices.
Inevitably the choices one makes become more subtle – how does one choose between two ostensibly good things? Here it is useful to look at what happens when I interact in with the two situations – which one actually brings more life, which one seems more appealing, which one has greater potential, etc.
But it has occurred to me recently that there is something else to examine – my motivations. Is my choice made out of a desire to ‘be good’ or is it made in interior freedom?
As I begin to recognise the limitations of my own interior freedom, I am also beginning to recognise the small areas where interior freedom actually exists. It is tremendously exciting. I feel as if I have stumbled into a much more reliable touchstone for discernment.
It is my great prayer at the moment, that I may grow in interior freedom. I have tasted interior freedom before, and I have managed to make some good decisions rooted in interior freedom. But for the first time I am beginning to glimpse the possibility of having a state of interior freedom that persists.