Desire is a key concept in Ignatian spirituality; we’ve written about it frequently on dotMagis. (See, for example, here, here, and here.) When we find out what we really want, we find out what God wants too, because God has planted his desires in our hearts.
But what if we don’t desire what we think we should? Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, talks about this in a fine Advent meditation:
Sometimes in Jesuit life, you might find yourself lacking the desire for something that you want to desire. Let’s say you are living in a comfortable Jesuit community and have scant contact with the poor. You may say, “I know I’m supposed to want to live simply and work with the poor, but I have no desire to do this.” Or perhaps you know that you should want to be more generous, more loving, more forgiving, but don’t desire it. How can you pray for that with honesty?
In reply, Ignatius would ask, “Do you have the desire for this desire?” Even if you don’t want it, do you want to want it? Do you wish that you were the kind of person that wanted this? Even this can be seen as an invitation from God. It is a way of glimpsing God’s invitation even in the faintest traces of desire.