This unit aims to help participants deepen their understanding and practice of prayer, develop their capacity to identify the Spirit of God in their lives, and grow in the ability to discriminate between that Spirit and other ‘spirits’. Based on (i) the Rules for discernment of spirits, and (ii) the Election in the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, this unit will provide a theoretical framework for personal discernment and decision-making.

Unit Code: DS8019J

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit Discipline: Spirituality

Delivery Mode: Online

Proposing College: Jesuit College of Spirituality

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Learning Outcomes


Articulate a detailed theoretical understanding of the Rules for Discernment of Spirits in the Spiritual Exercises [313-336];


Describe the patterns of spiritual consolation and desolation in their lives, and detail the strategies they have learned to agere contra desolatione (act against desolation);


Summarise a detailed theoretical understanding of the Election in the Spiritual Exercises [Sp Ex 169-189];


Demonstrate the application of the Election in the Spiritual Exercises [169-189] in the context of a specific decision in their lives.


There will be two weekend intensives Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) eight weeks apart. In-between these, each student will make an individually-guided retreat in daily life during which the student will pray each day, make the Examen and see a retreat director once a week. The pattern of each weekend will include (i) lecturer’s input, (ii) students’ prayer and personal reflection, and (iii) sharing in facilitated small groups. Additional resources requiring critical reflection and peer interaction will be given.


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)

5000-word integrative essay

5000 75.0

2000-word paper on a matter for personal discernment and decision-making

2000 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 30 Sep, 2019

Unit Record last updated: 2019-10-22 10:39:30 +1100