How to Resist Spiritual Desolation


Bob stopped talking and checked out Father Reed. Father Reed was silent for a second. Then he stated, “Bob, I admire your honesty. I think about that it was not straightforward to say the issues you have got. I’m so glad that you just’ve been in a position to put that into phrases. Let me ask: As you hear your self say all this, does something strike you?”

“What do you imply, Father?” Bob requested.

“Properly, you’ve spoken of your relationship with Julie, along with your son David, your participation within the males’s group, your night prayer, and the retreat. What do you see occurring in these totally different areas?”

Now Bob was silent. Father Reed gave him the time he wanted.

“I believe,” Bob stated slowly, “that there’s something widespread to all of them.”

“Are you able to say what it’s?”

“Sure, I believe so. The areas are totally different, however the thought is identical for every: make your efforts if you need, however nothing will actually change. These efforts received’t final. You’ll all the time be the identical mediocre—or worse—husband, father, member of the group, individual of prayer that you’re now.”

Father Reed nodded his settlement. “It’s good which you could see that,” he stated. “What occurs if you consider that thought?”

“What occurs is what is occurring: I lose hope. I hand over hope of not hurting Julie, of ever being a greater father. I cease going to the conferences on Fridays. I don’t pray within the night. I determine to not make the retreat.”

“Sure, that’s what occurs if you consider that thought. Bob, let me ask this: Do you’re keen on Julie?”

“In fact I do.”

“Do you suppose she is aware of that?”

“Sure, I do know she does.”

“You stated earlier that there are tensions infrequently, however you’ve all the time considered your marriage as a superb one. Do you proceed to suppose that’s true?”

“Sure, I don’t doubt it.”

“Do you suppose Julie would say the identical?”

“Sure, I’m positive she would.”

“Do you’re keen on your youngsters? Would you like one of the best for David?”

“Sure, completely.”

“Are your youngsters completely happy?”

“They’ve struggles, as all of us do in rising up, however, sure, I believe they’re completely happy.”

“Bob,” Father Reed requested, “how does all that you just’ve simply stated—and stated with such sincerity and confidence—examine with the thought you’ve described, that you just’re not a superb husband, not a superb father, that you just by no means can be, that you just’ll by no means be holy on this vocation, that there’s no level in going to the lads’s group, in praying within the night, or in making a retreat?”

For the primary time, Bob smiled. “Properly, if you put it like that,” he stated, “it feels like I’ve been giving these ideas an excessive amount of energy. It feels like they don’t correspond to actuality and that issues should not as darkish as I’ve believed.”

“Sure, I’d say that’s proper. Bob, let me ask you this: Once you consider these ideas, what occurs?”

“That’s easy. I hand over. I cease making an attempt as a result of there’s no level: nothing will change.”

Father Reed nodded. “Bob, there’s a tempter who desires to discourage you, particularly when each you and Julie are rising spiritually in such a beautiful approach. It’s not shocking that you just discover these ideas—these lies—presenting themselves, and there’s no disgrace in experiencing them. What issues is to establish them for the lies that they’re, reject them, and keep firmly on monitor towards God. “I say ‘these lies’ as a result of every little thing you say exhibits that you’re a man of religion, that you just love God, that you just pray, that you just wish to develop spiritually, that you just love your spouse and your youngsters, that you’re a good husband and father and wish to develop on this calling. That is who you’re. Sure, actually, like me, like all of us, you possibly can develop and have to develop. However that doesn’t change your identification. Reject the lies. Pray faithfully. Discover methods to let Julie know that you just love her, and do the identical along with your son. Simply keep on monitor, Bob, and also you’ll see that issues will work out properly.”

Bob checked out Father Reed. He was deeply moved. “I can’t let you know how grateful I’m,” he stated, “It’s like waking from a foul dream.”

With Father Reed’s assist, Bob acknowledges a tactic of the enemy, one other type of religious desolation. Ignatius describes this as “lack of hope.” Once we expertise this type of desolation, our ideas are like Bob’s: we lose hope of any actual progress in loving God, in prayer, in holiness, and in residing our vocation properly. If we expect like this, we can be tempted, like Bob, to surrender—exactly the enemy’s aim.

All of this can be a lie! If ever you’re feeling “defeated earlier than you start” in your religious life, acknowledge the lie of the enemy and reject it. Don’t relinquish your efforts to develop spiritually. God’s love and the facility of his grace are with you in these efforts. In contrast with this, the enemy’s lies are a really small factor. Additional, we are able to put together to reject such lies even earlier than the enemy brings them (Ignatius’s rule 10). After this assault by the enemy, for instance, Bob can put together himself to reject comparable lies ought to the enemy convey them once more. Allow us to suppose that Bob, restored in peace, sits in his examine or earlier than the Blessed Sacrament, or in dialog with Julie, and critiques the expertise of the previous weeks. He notes, or he and Julie collectively be aware, the enemy’s discouraging lies and the vulnerability (their rigidity after talking about David) that uncovered him to them. Bob plans how he’ll resist these lies when, as is probably going—once more, no disgrace!—they return: how he won’t change his prayer, won’t distance himself from the lads’s group, will speak with Julie and search her assist, will maybe meet with Father Reed, and the like. Bob and Julie resolve that if both experiences these lies, she or he will inform the opposite for mutual assist within the battle.

In the event that they do that, they are going to be vastly strengthened to withstand shortly and decisively when the enemy’s “lack of hope” presents itself once more.

How may you be weak to this lack of hope in your religious life?

Are you able to put together forward, put together even now? When you do, like Bob and Julie, you’ll discover future desolation simpler to beat. A remaining remark, and certainly one of nice significance: the enemy will attempt to persuade you that what you expertise in religious desolation is your identification: it’s who you’re spiritually. Do you’re feeling removed from God this night (religious desolation)? That is who you’re: an individual removed from God (religious identification). Do you’re feeling little want to wish right this moment (religious desolation)? That is who you’re: an individual who doesn’t love prayer (religious identification). Do you’re feeling little vitality right this moment to attend day by day Mass as typical (religious desolation)? That is who you’re: an individual who doesn’t love the Eucharist (religious identification).

No! And once more no! You’re a individual near God, who loves prayer and who loves the Eucharist—that is why you have got these practices!—however whom God, for causes of a love now we have already seen, is allowing to expertise religious desolation.

Reject the enemy’s false equation between the religious desolation you expertise and your religious identification. Once you do, your struggles will lighten and your religious vitality will enhance.

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