“Discernment of spirits” – Dealing with Consolation – 2

Four Manifestations of Consolation:

We experience consolation because of God’s personal involvement with us. God, always present within implicitly, moves interiorly in a given moment, reveals something specific about God’s Self, and communicates divine love. God’s active presence results in a reaction, an awakening of understanding, an inception of feeling within. God’s transcendent and pervasive presence is immanently and specifically revealed, and we have an affective reaction. Ignatius describes four manifestations of consolation that vary in nature and intensity, All four manifestations are descriptions of affective reactions to God’s self-communication in our interior selves. The first two expressions occur infrequently and are rather intense. The later two are more common and pervasive experiences of consolation:

  1. The First Manifestation of Consolation describes a lively and total affective union with God. In this moment of all-enveloping consolation our disordered attachments become ordered attachments because God’s vibrant love eradicates any disorders.

  2. The Second Manifestation of Consolation indicates a strong affective reaction – shedding tears – that results from experiencing God’s love and that leads to a deeper love of God. The intense consolation of tears can be ascribed to a variety of relational and affective reasons, including pain, joy, gratitude, and love.

  3. The Third Manifestation of Consolation concerns an increase of faith, hope, and love. Because consolation is an interior movement, an affective reaction, Ignatius is referring here to a growing interior fullness of faith, an affective increase that is both spiritual and emotional and one that creates more space in our hearts to receive God’s loving presence and that allows God to flow through us to others.

  4. The Fourth Manifestation of Consolation is also deeply interior and a feeling that draws us to the life of God. It is an interior joy – a joy of the heart, a joy experienced in the centre of our being that spontaneously moves us toward God-centred realities. This interior joy results in our being filled with peace and quiet in God and is an experience of stillness, a quiet being with God. It becomes a more common and pervasive experience when we embrace God’s loving presence.