Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Strategies for Combating Desolation

In The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius - "Rules For The Discernment Of Spirits," St. Ignatius addresses the issue of consolation and desolation. "Consolation," he wrote, is when "the soul is aroused by an interior movement which causes it to be inflamed with love of its creator and Lord, and consequently can love no created thing on the face of the earth for its own sake, but only in the Creator of all things." "Desolation," in stark contrast to "consolation", he defined as the "darkness of the soul, turmoil of the mind, inclination to low and earthly things, restlessness resulting from many disturbances and temptations which lead to loss of faith, loss of hope, and loss of love. It is also desolation when a soul finds itself completely apathetic, tepid, sad, and separated as it were, from its Creator and Lord. Ignatius developed the following stategies for times when you are in "desolation" or spiritually empty. When In Desolation, Stay The Course - never make a change or major decision this is the time when we can be tempted by the evil one. In Desolation, Remember God Is Really There. He is there if You need Him. The Most Important Thing In Desolation Is Patience We must strive to persevere. In Desolation, Think Long-Term Consolation will surely return. Turn up Spirituality to combat Desolation. We can use the power of prayer, meditation, examination, penance, psalms, hymns to fight through it. Plan ahead When in Consolation. You can use those times in Consolation to prepare for the eventual Desolation, strengthen onself, consider what you will do. Recognize How Satan Works He will use different means to get you either by playing on your weakness or attacking them. Analyze How You Came Into Desolation Have we been negligent? Are we being tested? Are we about to recieve a spirtual gift. The key to surviving these times when you are empty and barren stuck in Desolation is to rely on God's grace. This Lent may find you struggling to "get it together" you may have to walk a few days in the desert. Keep walking.

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