ELEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR DISCERNING AN IGNATIAN VOCATION
- Freedom and love, not duress and fear, is the only acceptable pathway to becoming an Ignatian.
- Discernment is primarily about whether one has the bricks and mortar to build a priestly life: character, intelligence, will power, wise judgment, self-control, emotional stability, physical health.
- Before discerning whether or not you have an Ignatian vocation, you must first discover whether you have a priestly vocation and then secondly whether it is to diocesan or religious priesthood and thirdly whether to a contemplative or active order.
- No rushing the decision! Discernment to be an Ignatian will take several years: until Perpetual Profession.
- During this discernment, the Society of Ignatians will not allow any seminarian to hand over his financial resources to the Society.
- Seminarians will always have freedom to choose their confessor and spiritual director.
- A great means of discernment, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, will be given as St. Ignatius intended they be given: as a retreat whose aim is to reach a decision in utter freedom from any internal or external pressure, whether from superiors, retreat director, or one’s own emotions and passions.
- The 800-page volume, The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology by Tanquerey, a classic, comprehensive coverage of all the principles necessary for discernment in the light of Sacred Scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, will be a key reference manual that every seminarian will possess.
- Family and friends are regarded by Ignatians as support and strength for discernment. The Society will encourage Ignatian seminarians and priests to keep in communication with their families and friends.