In the discernment process: Pillar #1 – Faith! Pillar #2 – Prayer! What is pillar #3? Pillar three is Reason! Ideas and proposals can come flying at you, but if you do not apply reason to your decision making process, you may not make a prudent decision. Back in 2010, my husband and I were living in an area of Charlotte, NC that was, frankly, going downhill. Crime was on the rise, and I got to a point where I didn’t feel safe living there any longer. So, my husband and I decided to put our house up on the market and move. Hmm – where to move? First thing I did was seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Then, I discerned through faith and prayer, along with reason, that the prudent decision was to move to a safer neighborhood in a neighboring county where the crime rate was much lower. Using reason, I found the neighborhood and then looked for houses that we could afford within that area. If I had not applied the use of reason, my husband and I might have wound up in a place far less safe and/or more expensive than we could afford.
I use this example to demonstrate that reason is a very legitimate component. Reason is a gift from God that He expects us to use as a guide through this life. Faith and reason work hand in hand, with prayer amplifying the discernment process. In my home purchase example, my husband and I applied reason as follows:
- We weighed the possibilities; the pros and cons.
- We understood the ramifications of our decision.
- We applied prudence to the decision-making process (sought the Holy Spirit’s counsel, made judgments and acted prudently).
- We asked ourselves if we thought the outcome would please God.
Four years later, my husband and I can look back and see that we made a wise decision. We love where we live; the crime rate is lower, taxes are lower, and we have a wonderful home, surrounded by great neighbors.
What is that fourth and final pillar of the discernment process? We’ll answer that question in our next reflection on the virtue of discernment. Don’t miss it!