Monday, June 9, 2008

Consolations, Desolations, and Active Indifference

Once I came back to Christ, I couldn't spend enough time with God. I wanted to feel his presence in my every moment, waking or asleep. Therefore, in spring 2007, I started to do the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. I used the Jesuit Spirituality web pages and began to do the Spiritual Exercises from there. These exercises are meant to be done under the direction of a mentor (or spiritual director) but because of my circumstances I did them on my own. While many concepts from the Exercises helped me, today I want to emphasize the concept of spiritual 'consolations and desolations' and 'active indifference' - they really hit home. Besides the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius also wrote "The Rules for discernment of Spirits" and Brian Incigneri has summarized it an article Discernment: Recognizing God's voice. Very simply, here's what I learned about my relationship with God, my feelings and my will: 1) Things happen that make me feel sad, bad, etc. - this is desolation; conversely, things happen that make me feel happy, good - this is consolation. 2) It is not the things that happen to me that are inherently good or bad. It is my feelings and my will. As I continued to do the Spiritual Exercises and listen to God, I began to be in a state of 'active indifference.' At first, I thought this was the fruits of the Holy Spirit manifest in me such as love, joy, peace, etc. (Galatians 5: 22-23). Later, I realized that God was answering my prayers and helping me see what He wanted me to do: nothing. Just accept the gift of my life and relax. I don't need to make decisions or perform some action to make the hurt go away or ease the situation. I should just rest in his love and "be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

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