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Discerning is Recalling

An ancient legend used to spread the account which tells that souls pre-existed inside of God and when God put the soul into the mother’s womb, He would seal off the memory of its pre-existence by physically shutting the baby’s lips against speaking of this pre-existence. That’s why we have a little gap under our noses, just above center of our lips:  It’s where God’s finger sealed our lips. That is why whenever we are struggling to remember something, our index finger instinctually rises to that cleft under our nose. We are trying to retrieve a primordial memory….

Some mystics gave this mythical expression another turn: they taught that the human soul comes from God and that the last thing that God does before putting a soul into the body is to kiss the soul. In respect to our freedom we don’t recall – consciously – these facts; but our souls will always – unconsciously- stay drawn towards God because He is our real home that we ache to return to…

In one of his icons, St Ignatius of Loyola who is described as a master in the art of spiritual discernment is shown with his finger around this gap under the nose. The writer of the icon asserts: the saint is revealed in discerning posture.

It is if, in a way or another, message behind the ancient legend and the icon meet. Discernment in a way or another is “Recalling” that God is our home! Discernment is recalling that - in Henri Nouwen words- ‘once we were caressed by hands far gentler than we ever meet in this life.’

Afterwards, filled with trust in that embrace, we will go through an act of digging into the core of our souls to place our inquiry under the light of God’s love, goodness, and beauty…. there, in our inner temple, we will find true answers. Then, willfully St Ignatius’ words will be often repeated:

“Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will….All that I am and all that I possess , You have given it all to me. To you Lord, I return it… All is yours. Dispose of it according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace, for that is enough for me.”