In the digital age, we are acutely aware of the need for vigilance. Media reports frequently call attention to businesses whose data has been compromised. There are vigorous exhortations about being alert to the ways in which we are using electronic means of communication, and the inherent dangers that may arise if vigilance is not sustained. The mention of our data being consigned to ‘the dark web’ foreshadows anxiety.
In addition to exercising the quality of vigilance in the use of electronic devices, warnings appear around caring for our physical, mental, and emotional health and being alert to the many factors that affect life-giving decisions. Drawing on the spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Pope Francis urges similar caution about the importance of vigilance during the process of discernment, lest the dark side of ourselves remains hidden, and our attention to the reality of any situation becomes diminished.
At the present time, we are called to be vigilant as we consider our responsibilities in the referendum to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. There are a plethora of voices demanding to be heard as each person and group argues a particular position. As we each make a personal choice about voting, the Pope’s voice about vigilance emerges as a guide. The Ignatian rules for discernment provide signposts for clarifying our decision-making process.
The attribute of vigilance affects decision making in all aspects of our lives: health, business, economics, relationships, and spirituality. May we be inspired by the graces of our spiritual tradition as we reflect on the words of Pope Francis and respond with a life enhancing decision for the First People of Australia in the referendum.
With thanks to Maureen Atkins for this contribution to the JISA Discernment Series. Maureen is an Ignatian Spiritual Director, a giver of the full Spiritual Exercises at JISA Campion. She is an enthusiastic student of the gifts of Ignatian Spirituality and committed to walking with others in this ministry.