Three Circumstances for Making a Decision

Ignatius thought that decisions were made in three circumstances.

When there is no doubt. Sometimes the right decision is unmistakably clear. We know what the right choice is. This knowledge is a gift from God. All we need do is act on what we know to be the right direction. Often this takes some time. We put off acting on what we know we should do.

When feelings are unsettled. Sometimes our emotions are in turmoil when we ponder various alternatives. We experience many strong feelings as we face the prospect of choosing—fearfulness, confidence, confusion, hope, sadness. Decision-making in these situations means observing and interpreting these feelings. We discern their spiritual meaning and discover how they point to the right choice.

When emotions are calm. Sometimes we approach a decision in a tranquil and settled frame of mind. This is probably the most common decision-making circumstance. Here, the Ignatian approach has us prayerfully weigh the pros and cons of each alternative and conduct some exercises that help us clarify the options.

Related Links

An Ignatian Framework for Making a Decision
11 steps for approaching an important decision prayerfully and systematically.

A Method of Group Decision-Making
By William Byron, SJ
How leadership groups can use Ignatian principles to make better decisions.