14 Rules of Discernment
The first sentence consists of 14 rules (Spiritual Retreats, 313-327) that give practical spiritual advice on how to deal with desolation — those times when the heart feels far from God and spiritual power diminishes. They should be used by an experienced spiritual leader who helps people understand the nature and meaning of the emotions they experience in prayer. They are specially designed for people who are starting a serious spiritual life. They help people identify the spiritual forces involved in these emotions: the good spirit (God, the Holy Spirit) and what Ignatius called “the enemy of our human nature” (the world, the flesh, the devil). Ignatius De Loyola summarized his approach to the distinction of spirits into two sets of rules of discernment, which he included in the Spiritual Retreats. The rules deal with ways of interpreting the states of comfort (joy, peace, gratitude, etc.) and desolation (depression, anxiety, anxiety) that people typically experience during the cultivation of a spiritual life. Rules 3 and 4 = focuses on the two basic spiritual movements of the heart – the “material” or the “thing” of distinction. “Ignatius teaches very simply and powerfully that if we are ready to resist him, we will see that the power of the enemy has never been more than a façade; it will collapse before us. With astonishment, like Paul, we will say, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). As we have said so many times in these reflections, all of Ignatius` teaching on the discernment of spirits is charged with hope” (Gallagher, DS, 183). Seventh rule.
The seventh: He who is in desolation should reflect on how the Lord has brought him to justice in His natural powers to resist the various agitations and temptations of the enemy; for he can do so with the divine help that always remains to him, even if he does not perceive it clearly: because the Lord has taken away from him his great zeal, his great love and his intense grace, but leaves him enough grace for eternal salvation. Fifth rule. The fifth: In times of desolation, never change anything; but to be firm and consistent in the intentions and destiny in which one was on the eve of such devastation, or in the destiny in which one found oneself in the previous consolation. For as in consolation, it is rather the good spirit that guides and advises us, so in desolation it is the bad, with whose advice we cannot take a course to decide correctly. First rule. The first rule: In the case of people who move from mortal sin to mortal sin, the enemy is usually used to offer them apparent pleasures that make them imagine sensual pleasures and pleasures in order to keep them more and grow in their vices and sins. In these people, the good mind applies the opposite method, stabs them and bites their consciousness through the process of reason. The second, to put ourselves to the test and see how many we are and how much we let ourselves go in His service and praise, without such a great reward of comfort and great graces. The first is because we are lukewarm, lazy, or careless in our spiritual exercises; And so, through our mistakes, spiritual comfort escapes us. Discernment in a word by Joseph A.
Tetlow, SJ Nine reasons to adopt the Ignatian judgment By Gretchen Crowder There is such a state as Difficult Consolation by Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ Finally, I call consolation every increase in hope, faith and love and all the inner joy that calls and attracts to heavenly things and the salvation of the soul, calm and gives it peace in its Creator and Lord. Second rule. The second: for people who intensely purify their sins and ascend from good to best in the service of God our Lord, it is the method that is opposed to that of the first rule, because then it is the way of the evil spirit to bite, to be sad and to put obstacles, disturbing with false reasons. that we must not continue; And it is dedicated to good, to give courage and strength, comfort, tears, inspiration and calm, to loosen and remove all obstacles so that you can do it well. On the contrary, let him who is in desolation think that with sufficient grace to resist all his enemies, he can do much by taking the strength of his Creator and Lord. Twelfth rule. The Twelfth: The enemy behaves like a woman, being weak against force and strong against will. For as is the way of the woman, when she quarrels with a man to lose courage and flee, when the man shows her much courage: and on the contrary, when the man who loses his heart begins to steal, the anger, revenge and ferocity of the woman are very great, and so unlimited; In the same way, it is the path of the enemy to weaken and lose courage, his temptations take flight when the person practicing spiritual things resists a bold front against the temptations of the enemy and does diametrically the opposite. And on the contrary, when the person who exercises begins to be afraid and lose heart when he undergoes temptations, there is no animal on earth as wild as the enemy of human nature, who pursues his cursed intention with such great wickedness.
Third rule. The third: spiritual comfort. I call it comfort when an inner movement is provoked in the soul through which the soul is ignited with love for its Creator and Lord; and if he can accordingly, he does not love a thing created on the surface of the earth in itself, but in the Creator of all. Fourth rule. The fourth: Spiritual desolation. I call desolation the complete opposite of the third rule, like the darkness of the soul, the disturbance in it, the movement towards low and earthly things, the agitation of various agitations and temptations, the movement towards the lack of trust, without hope, without love, when one finds oneself quite lazy, lukewarm, sad and as separate from one`s Creator and Lord. For just as consolation contradicts desolation, so thoughts that come from consolation are also opposed to thoughts that come from desolation. The third, to give us a true knowledge and awareness that we can feel internally, that it is not up to us to receive or preserve great devotion, intense love, tears or any other spiritual comfort, but that everything is the gift and grace of God our Lord and that we must not build a nest in one thing, not to elevate our intellect in a certain pride or vain glory, to attribute to us devotion or other things of spiritual comfort. Thirteenth rule. The Thirteenth: Similarly, he acts like a creeping lover by wanting to be secret and not be revealed.
For as the creeping man who speaks for a bad purpose and asks a daughter of a good father or a wife of a good husband, wants his words and persuasions to be secret, and the opposite displeases him very much when the girl reveals to her father or wife to her husband her unbridled words and corrupt intentions, because he easily recognizes that he will not succeed in the enterprise he has begun: in the same way, when the enemy of human nature brings his cunning and persuasiveness to the righteous soul, he wants and desires that they be received and kept secret; but when they are revealed to his good confessor or to another spiritual person who knows his deceptions and bad goals, it is very painful for him because he learns from his obvious deception, which is discovered, that he will not be able to succeed with his wickedness begun.