I found this paper with this list on and will adapt it a bit on trying to discern God’s will.
1) Always begin with data,
Take into consideration all the information you have about a decision to be made. What you know for sure. Take into consideration all the concrete facts that are part of your life and the decisions right now in your life (should I buy that new car when you already have a good car and do not have money for a new car). Try to figure out the unknown will of God by what you already know. Check out “the uncertain” by the certain facts. Adam and Eve neglected this principle when they took the devils advice. They ignored the obvious, fact that God commanded them not to eat the fruit.
2) Let love in your heart influence the facts in your head.
Let your love of God educate your reason in discerning God’s will. Jesus taught us to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and being. He also taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves. So when discerning put love in the forefront. Would this decision or action be a loving decision? But Love is not just an emotion, it is also sacrificing for the good of God and others.
3) Have a hard head and a soft heart.
In discerning God’s will we need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Sharp as a fox in thought but loyal as a dog in following through with our will and deeds. Soft heartedness does not excuse soft headedness, and hard-headedness does not excuse hard-heartedness. So use all you intelligence God has given you. But also listen to your heart enlightened by unsentimental love. In our hearts we can be a little of a “bleeding heart liberals”, but in our minds we need to be “stuck in the mud conservatives.”
4) All God’s signs should line up.
There are at least seven such signs. And if one of them is not there or says no, do not do it. If none of the seven signs say no, more than likely it is alright to do it. Also test your choice by holding it up before God’s face in honest prayer.
1) Does it go along with what God says in the Bible?
2) Is it consistent with Church teaching?
3) Does it make sense to good human reasoning?
4) Are the circumstances and the situation appropriate and normal?
5) Does our educated conscience find it acceptable (innate intuitions)?
6) Are we taking into consideration our personal charisms and talents?
7) What happens when I pray about it?
Looking for the fruits of the Spirit.
In your decision, can you see Love, Joy and Interior Peace? If we are angry, anxious, worried, loveless, joyless and peace-less, it is more than likely not God’s will.
Discernment should not have to be a stiff, brittle, anxious thing. But since it is part of understanding God’s will in our lives, we need to pay attention to every detail. On small decisions we can be more relaxed. On very serious decisions (like should I get married to this person) we need to be much more careful.
The process can be more like a well played game rather than a terrible war. Or like writing a letter to someone you love versus taking final exam.
The original author of this blog and passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.