Episode 29 – Discernment of Spirits (Part 2)

Graphic for Episode 29

Jake and Brett continue their conversation about discernment of spirits and discuss common false reasonings men struggle with including what it means to be a good, Catholic man.

Key Points

  • Doing self-reflection without tools or skill can feel like looking at a dim mirror: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor 13:12)
  • Discernment of spirits isn’t as complicated as it might sound
  • There is an important distinction to be made between spiritual and non-spiritual desolation – spiritual desolation relates to negative affect and the thoughts that are present in my relationship with God and while seeking to do His will
  • Non-spiritual desolation can become a springboard into spiritual desolation
  • Distinguishing spiritual and non-spiritual desolation is important because the rules of discernment don’t apply to non-spiritual desolation
  • As men we are designed to engage; resignation is so unhealthy for us
  • We could call the lack of engagement in men a communal work of the enemy
  • The enemy is regularly lying to us, these are the false reasonings mentioned in the rules of discernment
  • The false reasonings are usually believable and familiar and therefore they can be difficult to detect
  • A major obstacle for engaging is fear
  • Passive spirituality is different than receptive spirituality
  • The enemy plants false reasonings subtly in our hearts and nurtures them over time so it’s not obvious for us to detect and engage/root out
  • Intimacy isn’t a word or reality reserved just for women or sex
  • There can be some strong reasonings, possibly false reasonings, about what a good Catholic man is.

Discussion Questions:

  • What struck you from this episode?
  • What is the difference between spiritual and non-spiritual desolation? Why does this distinction matter?
  • Where do you struggle to engage in life? Where do you struggle to engage in your spiritual life?
  • What are some areas of life where you might be struggling with false reasonings?
  • How is your relationship with God these days? Where do you struggle to engage in your relationship with God?
  • How’s your image of God? What false reasonings might you have believed? Where might those have come from?
  • What have you believed about God speaking to people? What have you believed about God’s way of speaking with you? Where could there be false reasonings?
  • How would you define a good Catholic man? Are there any false reasonings there?