Desolation In Spiritual Exercises

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2.2. Desolation
In the first week of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius gives rules for discernment. Spiritual desolation is an experience of trail to remain firm and faithful. Gallagher says, “Persons in spiritual desolation, who consider this truth while they are enduring the desolation, find themselves crossing a spiritual threshold.” The aim of the first week and through the aid of these rules, the person is called to conversion of the heart from a worldly and mediocre life. Desolation, in simple terms, implies as the work of the evil spirit. It happens in the prayer life of people that they can feel that the Lord has abandoned them. Frustration and discouragement strike them in such moments. They don’t find any meaning in the perseverance.
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People feel depressed and helpless. We try to engage in other activities and deviate from the prayer life because it is a way to help people run from pain rather than deal with it. The root cause of desolation is temptation. Desolation dispels hope and brings in loneliness. People, in desolation, feel miserable and unworthy. St. Ignatius says that God is always there even when one don’t feel divine presence. He tells the people that one of the most important thing to cultivate during the times of desolation is patience. He suggests that it is important to identify the cause of the desolation. Sometimes, it happens that desolation seems to come from nowhere. Most of the time, it is noticed that people have done something to bring it on. Neglecting some important responsibilities, giving into selfish desires and indulging in the fault of others are some of the reasons that bring desolation. It is important to remember that God never causes desolation, but God might be allowing the desolation as a trial so that we can grow in virtue and learn to love God and others in bad times as well as good. Desolation can bring good to the people. It is an opportunity not to be missed. Because it can also be a test from God to show how vulnerable and limited we are. During the times of desolation, one should stick himself to the virtues like patience, trust, increased prayers, more service to others in order to reap the fruits…show more content…
Consolation is the opposite of desolation. When the person moves to deeper levels of commitment with the Lord, he experiences strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and peace. Since evil is spirit can trick the people, sometimes, it can appear to be the voice of God in order to tempt and make the people suit to his purposes. In the first rule of the second week, St. Ignatius says,
It is characteristic of God and his angels, when they act upon the soul, to give true happiness and spiritual joy, and to banish all the sadness and disturbances which are caused by the enemy. It is characteristic of the evil one to fight against such happiness and consolation by proposing fallacious reasonings, subtleties and continual deceptions (SE
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