Immersed in Christ: Fourth Thursday of Easter: April 29, 2021
The Gift of Counsel
Counsel is the gift that helps us make spiritual decisions; to discern not just the good but the best; especially in complex situations when it is hard to determine by reason alone the right thing to do—for example, how to choose the lesser of two evils, or between what is good, better, and best.
Counsel helps us live what Paul taught: "Be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good, and acceptable to God, and perfect" (Romans 12:2).
Minimal Christians aim at being "good" by avoiding sin.
Awakened Christians aim at being “acceptable” to God precisely as Christians by acting on the divine level of God by grace.
Advanced Christians aim at being "perfect" by letting Jesus act with them, in them, and through them in everything they do.
Counsel helps us discern. But our use of Counsel can be shortstopped by legalism, which only looks to rules; or by clericalism, which substitutes priests' advice for conscience without seeking satisfying theological answers or the confirmation of spiritual discernment.
Counsel requires an open mind. Pope Francis says, "If you have the answers to all questions—that is proof God is not with you… You must leave room for the Lord… be humble. Uncertainty is in every true discernment open to finding confirmation in spiritual consolation." (America Magazine September 30, 2013).
To use the Gift of Counsel: Learn the "Awareness Exercise." (See immersedinChrist.org, under "Ways to Pray"). It will gradually increase your awareness of the Holy Spirit's movements in your heart.