How to Talk to God About the Big Questions - Fr. Jaffe, IHM Conference Talk Notes

Father Jaffe was an engaging and enjoyable start to this year's IHM National Conference. As I have done in years past, here are my talk notes. (At the link, you can order a recording of this talk)

 * God desires us to know His Will 

* We can find out what that will in 3 ways. 

1. Experiences...we can understand God's will when we remember how the Holy Spirit has worked in our lives in the past. 
2. Desires - the Lord call us to His will with desires 
3. Circumstances - What God has put before us. Pray with your desires. 

Imagine you see a tree. You first see the leaves, they are obvious. Yet, if all the leaves were gone the tree would still be there...beyond desire. Pray to find the root of the tree, the core.

Father spoke about how discernment needs activity. Steps. Action. Take that experience back to prayer. 

A better word, he felt, was EXPLORATION. When you explore you don't know the outcome. Like the scientific process, you develop questions, then a hypothesis. You architect the experiment to test the veracity of the endeavor. Are the results repeatable? Is it true? 

He noted that it was a good practice to visit colleges, as an example. Think, pray and work towards a decision. Discernment is not to "see" your future. Take steps. Evaluate. Peace is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and happens AFTER the decision.

Ask God, "Is this the peace you intended for my life? "

Parents should be listened to because God can speak to you through them. They know you, but you know you, too. God will use your parents.

Just like a parked car can't be going the wrong way and GPS doesn't work if you are standing still. You can only be going the wrong way if you are GOING. Timidly go down a path while asking, "Is this right?" 

For the big questions in life, we aren't choosing. God has chosen His Will for your vocation At your baptism, He chose and you unwrap the gift. It's not a problem to solve, it's a seed planted to cultivate. Free the seed of weeds. Give it an environment to grow. What kind of tree is it? It will become more distinctive as it bears fruit. We have to agree to discovery and make choices along the way. 

Do your exploring, your discernment with Jesus and bring your experiences back to Him.


How to Talk to God About the Big Questions

Fr. J. D. Jaffe

Fr. Jaffe will explore prayer and discernment. His talk will help you to teach your children to understand the will of God. What are the ways in which we can think about, talk about, and pray about the bigger questions of life? Who am I? Why do I exist? Why does God care about me? What does God want from me?
Fr. J. D. Jaffe grew up at St Michael parish in Annandale, VA where he attended parochial school there from K-8th grade. He graduated from Annandale High School and graduated from the College of William and Mary, with a double major in Biology and Religious Studies. He attended St Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia for one year, and then the North American College in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Arlington in June 2003. He has been a parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament in Alexandria, and he was an assistant principal and chaplain at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia. Fr. Jaffe currently serves as the Director of the Office of Vocations for the Diocese of Arlington, and also serves as the coordinator of the Courage Apostolate.

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