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 […]

Finding Your Way

If someone you know is looking for direction in life, point them to “How to Discern the Elements of Your Personal Vocation” by Peter Ryan, SJ. It’s an excellent essay that sets forth “points to bear in mind,” the first of which is that “sincere discernment infallibly succeeds.” Another point is that we “discern only what to try.” After all, we do not know the future, and we could die at any moment. The real […]

Getting Started in Ignatian Discernment

The goal of Ignatian discernment is to discover where God is active in our lives.  Here is a simple two-step exercise to get started with it. It is adapted from a “spiritual warm-up” developed by Tim Muldoon in his book The Ignatian Workout: 1. Be quiet (turn off radios, TVs, computers, video games; close books and magazines). 2. Think about what really makes you happy. Step 1 isn’t easy. Muldoon suggests focusing on your breathing. Or you […]

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