Consolation, Desolation, and Feelings

Consolation and desolation are key ideas in Ignatian discernment, and they are not easy to understand.  Abbot Joseph has a good post about the nuances.

Even for those who are serious about the spiritual life, it is good to make the distinction between subjective feelings and objective reality when trying to discern one’s spiritual state as consolation or desolation.  If you are grieved over your sins, don’t call it desolation, for this grief is the “godly grief” that “produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret” (2Cor. 7:10).  On the other hand, if you are feeling some pleasure or contentment due to the indulgence of some “low and earthly” thing or activity, don’t automatically consider it consolation, for it may be leading you away from God.

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Jim Manney

Senior Editor at Loyola Press
Jim Manney is a popular writer on Ignatian topics (God Finds Us, A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer) as well as the editor of many books on Ignatian spirituality, including What Is Ignatian Spirituality? He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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1 Comment on Consolation, Desolation, and Feelings

  1. I had always been confused and wished to be clarified with the meaning of Desolation and Consolation means in the Ignatian Spirituality.
    And now with this clarity, It can guide me more in my inner examen everyday and help me to walk closely more with the Lord.
    I greatly appreciate this very much . Thank you so very much.

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