The Role Of Discernment Essay Examples
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The influence of normative basis on the decisions in concrete moral situations.
Role of discernment in everyday life and questions that follow out of the notion.
Christian tradition is one of the main factors that influenced understanding of discernment as a virtue.
Discernment as a Virtue
Frequent use of the word discernment and its variations in everyday life (e.g. Counselors say to clients, “You will have to discern how best to reconcile your past with the present”) has a meaning exceeding simple notice or remark.
Discernment in such cases has judgmental and evaluative approach going beyond fixing the facts only.
Discerning people pay attention to the smallest details and complexity of various situations, use imaginative approach in order to perceive and organize the information, differentiate the alternatives, remain flexible and sensible in practical matters.
Recent understanding of discernment: Discernment refers to the skill or virtue of perceiving and distinguishing degrees of values among diverse factors when making decisions.
Discernment in ethics:
Helps people to pursue main objectives of the moral life (according to Christian tradition, it’s human flourishing / love of God which comes from right relationships / loving our neighbor as we love ourselves) and helps to find the most virtuous response among the existing ones.
Involves attentive listening and consulting the objective sources of morality and wisdom that can help in solving a moral situation.
Both spiritual (personal actions are contemplated) and moral exercise (morally relevant factors that are considered).
Discernment is much about BEING (figuring out who we ought to become) because it is about DOING (our actions in concrete situation).
The task of discernment is to distinguish between the diverse spiritual states that we experience and to choose the course of action that most fully expresses our love to God and our love for neighbor. The goal – to select among the possible options the one that promotes right relationships and leads to deep communion with God.
The importance of heart in discernment.
Understanding of BEING and DOING requires personal foundation that consists of three interrelated elements:
Desire to deepen the relationship with God through prayer
Trust God in moral decisions
Freedom from disordered passions
Discernment as a process
Discernment gives us inner sense that we are doing the right thing.
The overall process of discernment has three components:
Personal reflection: inner motivation, open prayers and self-knowledge are the main factors.
Contextual analysis: moral decision making, the use of reality-revealing questions and their meanings, consulting objective sources of morality and wisdom (Scripture, Jesus, Church community, role models, expert authority, moral principles, laws).
Critical evaluation: external and internal criteria that help to make the right decision. External criteria: Scripture, Church teaching, the community, its values, moral principles, relevant laws. The internal criterion is more important, but has its limits: correct identification and understanding of inner movements, ability to apply experience and distinguish inner movements that arise.
Discernment as a virtue and a process happens when people make personal moral decisions.
There are six steps for decision making that incorporate the crucial features of discernment and the normative basis:
Gather all relevant factual information
Identify the ethical issues
Consider what right relationships require and what lead ultimately to human flourishing
Brainstorm possible options
Weigh options and select one
Evaluate the decision against external and internal criteria
The constructed process of discernment helps to identify ethical issues, understand them within a wider scope, and make decisions that lead to ultimate development of a person.
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