“Discernment of spirits” – Discernment of Consolations – 1

What to do with Consolation is easy: be grateful. And, with most other spiritual masters, we attempt to let the experience go. If we hang on to it, then our prayer life becomes a means towards achieving more consolation. Consolation is not the “end” of our spiritual efforts. It is “gift.” Nothing more, nothing less. The point of the spiritual life is not to accumulate consolations, but to become more open to God. Ignatius learned several valuable lessons:

    • consolation is a gift that God freely offers;

    • desolation can be so severe that it can even cause total despair;

    • attentiveness to the specific way temptation can occur enables one to take concrete steps to counteract the temptation;

    • God uses interior movements and attentiveness to free us of disordered attachments.

    • With God’s help, we can also learn about the nature of consolation itself – the sifting out of the different experiences of consolation. We can experience the various manifestations of true consolation that originated in God and the false consolation that grows from our own Ego. As we continue to experience God moving in our heart, we can notice differences in the manifestations of true consolation – differences in the immediate cause of true consolation, and differences between true and false consolation. Our own blindness – caused by our disordered attachment, by our preoccupation with our Ego and its needs – prevents us from experiencing our deeper Self, where we encounter God. When we develop the interior freedom, we can allow God to work and recognize how God has been working. (Continue)