Daily with DeSales-Discernment of the Heart

By Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan, Visitation Alumna

St. Francis de Sales

St. Francis de Sales

St Francis de Sales On Love:

“We must keep our hearts continually unshakably serene throughout the vicissitudes of life. Even though everything turns and changes around us, we must ever remain steady–always looking, striving, and aspiring toward God. No matter what course the ship takes, no matter it sails to the east, west, north or south, no matter what winds drive it on, the mariner’s needle never points in any direction except toward the polar star. …the fine point of our heart, our spirit, our higher will, which is our compass, must ever look and tend toward the love of God, its Creator, its Savior, its sole and sovereign good.”

What do you do when you prayerfully discern that the path you are on is leading you in a new direction, like the beauty of a new sprout on an old branch in the springtime? How do you respond? Do you heed its call, pay attention to its loveliness even if it comes with the discomfort of new growth? Or do you hide from it? Try to stuff it down? Stifle its call?

With the recent events at the monastery, discernment of the heart has been on my mind and in my prayer. I took to St. Francis de Sales and what he advises when life happens. I came to a deeper realization that the heart is a lovely and true compass especially when it is set on God’s love. But wow can it take us for a ride! How do we honor our hearts callings and how do we respond with grace to what our life is asking of us?

When we turn away from our heart’s deepest desires, from what God calls us toward we often no longer feel like ourselves, and it is difficult to respond to others, ourselves, and God with authenticity.

discernment of the heart

discernment of the heart

When we turn into the fray of the “vicissitudes of life” we find the courage, the grace, the honesty to take the ship’s course no matter the direction, no matter the waters nor the winds, no matter the adventure. God places in our journey the people, the supplies, and the food we need to weather the course to face our fears, our feelings, our opportunities. With faith our “mariner’s needle never points in any direction except toward the polar star. …the fine point of our heart, our spirit, our higher will, which is our compass, must ever look and tend toward the love of God, its Creator, its Savior, its sole and sovereign good.” If that’s not salve, not honey for when our life presents us with an invitation we may initially resist, I am not sure what else could be!

Follow your polar star! Live Jesus!

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