S03 E14 – Book Study Part 3 – How Can We Know that an Inspiration Comes From God?


01:11 – 06:00 = Topic Introduction and Context (How can we know if an inspiration come
from God?)
06:01 – 09:04 = Discussion about Criteria’s
09:05 – 11:19 = Discerning of Spirits
11:20 – 14:33 = Complimentary signs
14:34 – 27:11 = Jacque’s Question and discussions around that

27:12 – 30:23 = Truth Beauty and Goodness
30:23 – 30:36 = Closing

Progressively acquire a ‘spiritual sense’ 

  • Being able to recognize the voice of Jesus, amidst the noise
    • The Holy Spirit has a ‘tone’ to his voice – a particular gentleness and power, purity and clarity (p45)
    • Even when evil tries to mimic, we’ll be able to tell because he won’t ever lead towards good John 10:4-5 ‘The sheep follow him, for they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers’. 
  • Sheep don’t have complex language like we humans do, yet they ‘know his voice’. We won’t need to know a complex language to be able to ‘know’ the voice of the Holy Spirit. It’s not meant to be hard, we’re just meant to strengthen the sense by practising paying attention
  • God doesn’t not make it complex to hear His Voice

Criteria for confirming that an inspiration comes from God:

  1. External Criterion – God doesn’t contradict Himself 
  2. Consistency with Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Church
  3. Internal Criterion: A Tree is known by its fruits
    • Fruits of peace, joy, charity, communion and humility 
    • An evil influence will either produce no fruit OR poisoned fruits of sadness, bitterness and pride. 
    • This is a retrospect criterion.
  4. Building up our experience
    • We can learn from our mistakes – in hindsight see if an idea actually came from God or from our own minds and wishes (p50) – that takes humility. Even a spiritual life filled with good will is not devoid of growth and learning 
  5. Discerning of Spirits
  6. Generally speaking, the spirit of God comes with joy, peace, tranquility, gentleness, simplicity and light
    • The spirit of evil brings sadness, trouble, agitation, worry, confusion and darkness.
      • Not to be mistaken for the kind of sadness that leads to repentance and God’s mercy, as that of evil – a sadness that leads to isolation.
      • Or feelings of agitation when a life of sin is challenged to love. These are resistance to Goodness, not evil in themselves and if followed will bring about fruits of the spirit of God
  7. Complementary signs: constancy and humility
    • Not to be overly hasty in following an inspiration 
    • God is consistent and ‘imprints our souls with a deep sense of humility’. 
    • Test of humility is the spirit of obedience 

 Is God’s will always the choice that is most difficult?

  • This questions actually says less about God and so much more about us. It’s hard not because God chooses the hardest path for me, it’s hard because I resist the goodness he has for me because somehow I falsely believe I can attain goodness in a different way, so I don’t want to pick the path He’s encouraging me to take. 
  • The more we journey the Lord the more God expands our hearts, the more joyful following his inspirations become and the lighter the burden becomes (p57). 
  • ‘God’s will is where there is maximum love, but not necessarily maximum suffering. There is more love in resting in trust than making ourselves suffer through worry’.
  • It’s moderation. Sometimes we can take on too much suffering, not because God has called us to it, but because we’ve created it and drawn in too much penance in the hopes that it would make us more holy, when it’s robbing us of peace. 
  • Other times, we tell ourselves ‘It’s not my fight, that the injustice is my opportunity to suffer, when in reality, some injustices need to be rectified’ Both of these depend upon ‘Where is the maximum love?’ (p58) that should always be our guide – Where is there maximum love? That’s where God is, and if that’s where He is, then that’s where He’s drawing us into. 
  • Different reactions depending on the importance of the inspiration
    • ‘One small act of obedience to God can sometimes cause us to make more progress spiritually than years of effort according to our own plans’ (p59)
    • When it’s an unusual but not so important inspiration – Based on the previous ‘check-list’ if you will, make a decision with promptness based on the virtues and goodwill, and if it turns out that it was not the right choice to make, then don’t fret, this is a learning opportunity, and move on. 
    • When it’s an important inspiration – then don’t decide with haste, and submit to a spiritual director – take it to one or two people for advice and then make a decision. Don’t sit and go in circles over it because that only increases confusion (vocational discernment). 
  • Being unresponsive to grace
  • Don’t worry if you’re looking back on all the times we’ve not been responsive to God – he has no interest in causing our hearts to fear, notice that it is not the spirit of God working. 
  • ‘God is always ready to lift us up again’ (p63)


Stina – Meditation on sorrows of Mary 

Padre – Shotgun wedding with open couple

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