Saturday, January 11, 2014


We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One.  We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.  And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.  He is the true God and eternal life.  Children, be on your guard against idols. 1 John 5:19-21

“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.  You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ, but that I was sent before him.  The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.  So this joy of mine has been made complete.  He must increase; I must decrease.”  John 3:27-30

Way, Truth, Life by Theodore J. (Ted) Tracy, S.J. b. 1916
You are the way, the truth, the life
Without the way there is no going
Without the truth there is no knowing
Without the life there is no growing
Show us the way, that we may go
Teach us the truth, that we may know
Grant us the life, that we may grow

Today’s scripture gives us the latest installment in the oft repeated theme of God=Good; World=Evil.  The dichotomy also is expressed as God v. Self or in the factual story Jesus v. John.  As we deal with the tug of war between the Good One and the Self/Evil One, note the gift that we have been granted: discernment.
John does not say that God bestows on us the ultimate, absolute knowledge and the fortitude to always act obediently on what is good.  Rather we get discernment or the ability to tell the difference. 

The website explains that “Discernment of spirits is the interpretation of what St. Ignatius Loyola called the “motions of the soul.” These interior movements consist of thoughts, imaginings, emotions, inclinations, desires, feelings, repulsions, and attractions. Spiritual discernment of spirits involves becoming sensitive to these movements, reflecting on them, and understanding where they come from and where they lead us. - See more at:

We get the ability to see good and bad and the ability to choose between the two.  Because we can swing from one side to the other, John warns to be on guard against idols – elements of the world which try to replace the will of God in our lives.

John the Baptist shows us how to deal with the tug of war.  Rather than getting wrapped up in his ministry and his interests, John was on guard against his own ego getting too big.  We must have that same awareness.  We must decrease.  Our thoughts, wants, needs, desires must decrease.  That is the only way to make room for what the bridegroom asks of us.

The Ignatian website which introduces us to two key questions on the idea of discernment:  1) Where is the movement/spirit coming from?  2) Where is it leading me?

To reflect on that, we have to get in touch with ourselves and what is motivating or attracting us.  What drives us to go on a diet?  What drives us to eat healthy food?  What drives us to save for retirement or give to charity?  What drives us to be a better worker, parent, spouse, child, or neighbor? 

Make way for the bridegroom.

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