Ignatius Calmed Me
I'm awake unusually early and have decided to get ready to leave for work. Yesterday was quite uneventful. Experienced losing my center entirely and just let myself drown in the abyss of all thoughts. Scrambled my way back by focusing on St. Ignatius rules on spiritual discernment.
|St. Ignatius of Loyola|
The feelings stirred up by good and evil spirits are called “consolation” and “desolation” in the language of Ignatian spirituality.
Spiritual consolation is an experience of being so on fire with God’s love that we feel impelled to praise, love, and serve God and help others as best as we can. Spiritual consolation encourages and facilitates a deep sense of gratitude for God’s faithfulness, mercy, and companionship in our life. In consolation, we feel more alive and connected to others.
Spiritual desolation, in contrast, is an experience of the soul in heavy darkness or turmoil. We are assaulted by all sorts of doubts, bombarded by temptations, and mired in self-preoccupations. We are excessively restless and anxious and feel cut off from others. Such feelings, in Ignatius’s words, “move one toward lack of faith and leave one without hope and without love.”
The key question in interpreting consolation and desolation is: where is the movement coming from and where is it leading me? Spiritual consolation does not always mean happiness. Spiritual desolation does not always mean sadness. Sometimes an experience of sadness is a moment of conversion and intimacy with God. Times of human suffering can be moments of great grace. Similarly, peace or happiness can be illusory if these feelings are helping us avoid changes we need to make.
I am not sure why reading this has given me a sense of calm. As if he just explained what I felt was going on inside me. As a student of Psychology in college, I know this to be the movements of certain emotions resulting from a lack of understanding, a lack of processing, a lack of counseling so on and so forth. And perhaps integrating what little I know of psychology and the spiritual journey can help me understand the ebbs and flows of what I am going through now.
May I pay close attention. May I have an open heart. May I be receptive. May I be transformed.