Good morning, happy Monday and blessings.
Doing as a kind of recap or summary of the week I could notice that many people with whom I could communicate were suffering from spiritual desolation. I am aware that difficult times are opportunities for us to strengthen our faith.
But at the same time, it may be the beginning of my spiritual desolation.
On the one hand, Psalm 42: 5 came to my mind which tells us: Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. And how is it that in those moments of desolation we only stayed in the first part of the Psalm and ignored the promise in the second part: Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
On the other hand, I remembered in my days as a seminarian the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola concerning this subject. Spiritual desolation, as Ignatius defines it in the Fourth Rule of his Spiritual Exercises, contains attributes “such as darkness of soul, disturbance in it, movement to low and earthly things, disquiet from various agitations and temptations, moving to lack of confidence, without hope, without love, finding oneself totally lazy, sad, and, as if separated from one’s Creator and Lord.” When we are in spiritual desolation, we can feel distant from God and tempted to give up on our prayer practices. During such periods, it is crucial that we devote time and energy to our relationship with God to make it through the desolation without losing faith.
It is very important first that we figure out where the desolation is coming from. According to St. Ignatius, spiritual desolation can happen for three reasons: We have sinned, resulting in consolation being taken away; God wants to awaken us to any darkness that has taken root in our lives; and God wants to remind us that consolation is a gift from him, not something we have earned for ourselves. When you identify why your spiritual desolation is happening, you can begin to see how to overcome it. Think carefully about when your desolation began and what was happening in your spiritual life at that time. Once you discover the reason for the desolation, you can also begin to discern what you can learn from the experience.
Please remember that spiritual desolation is different from mental and physical illness or distress. If you are not sure whether you are experiencing spiritual desolation, talk to someone who know about this subject. They will help guide you in the right direction.
But in the meantime, the task for today is that you can figure out from where the desolation is coming.