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“Perfection does not consist in having these spiritual consolations and affections, but in having our will united to that of God.” -- St. Francis de Sales PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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“Perfection does not consist in having these spiritual consolations and affections, but in having our will united to that of God.” -- St. Francis de Sales. Discernment of Spirits.

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“Perfection does not consist in having these spiritual consolations and affections, but in having our will united to that of God.” -- St. Francis de Sales

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Ipf501thurs

“Perfection does not consist in having these spiritual consolations and affections, but in having our will united to that of God.”

--St. Francis de Sales


Discernment of spirits

Discernment of Spirits

St. Ignatius’ rules for understanding to some extent the different movements produced in the soul and for recognizing those that are good to admit them, and those that are bad, to reject them.


Rule 1 spiritual exercises 314

Rule 1 (Spiritual Exercises #314)

In the case of those who go from one mortal sin to another, the enemy is ordinarily accustomed to propose apparent pleasures. He fills their imagination with sensual delights and gratifications, the more readily to keep them in their vices and increase the number of their sins.

With such persons the good spirit uses a method which is the reverse of the above. Making use of the light of reason, he will rouse the sting of conscience and fill them with remorse.


Rule 2 spiritual exercises 315

Rule 2 (Spiritual Exercises #315)

In the case of those who go on earnestly striving to cleanse their souls from sin and who seek to rise in the service of God our Lord to greater perfection, the method pursued is the opposite of that mentioned in the first rule.

Then it is characteristic of the evil spirit to harass with anxiety, to afflict with sadness, to raise obstacles backed by fallacious reasonings that disturb the soul. Thus he seeks to prevent the soul from advancing.

It is characteristic of the good spirit, however, to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations, and peace. This He does by making all easy, by removing all obstacles so that the soul goes forward in doing good.


At the most basic level

At the most basic level…

  • For those in mortal sin, the evil spirit makes things easy to continue in sin, while the Holy Spirit stings the conscience.

  • For those living the life of grace, the evil spirit disturbs, distresses, and disquiets the soul, while the Holy Spirit produces peace of soul, tranquility of mind, and quiet of heart.


Virtue and discernment

Virtue and Discernment…

Is discernment necessary for the life of holiness?

  • 1 John 4: 1-4

  • Blessed Antony of Egypt

  • Presupposition #6 True discipleship depends upon a desire to seek after and do the will of God. (Lk 1:34-38, Mark 14:32-37)


Prudence from ccc 1806

Prudence from CCC #1806

  • Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it;

  • Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle.

  • With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.


Prudence is

Prudence is…

Even the highest supernatural prudence can have no other meaning than this: to allow the more deeply experienced truth of the reality of God and of the world to become the measure and standard for one’s own desire and action.

--Pieper, page 20


Discernment and prudence

Discernment and Prudence

  • Discernment seeks not merely prudential judgment, but right relationship with God.

  • Prudence depends upon discernment, because a Christian disciple’s right judgment must be based on right relationship with God.

  • Discernment is not as necessary for distinguishing between good and evil, as between two possible goods.


The examen of consciousness

The Examen of Consciousness

  • “of consciousness” not “of conscience”. This is not about listing the ways I sinned today

  • Reflecting on my day in light of God’s love.

  • Takes about 15 minutes

  • Essential to living one’s “personal vocation”

  • What “spirit” moved me most deeply today?

  • Looks forward in hope.


The 5 steps in ignatius format

The 5 Steps in Ignatius’ Format

  • Prayer for Light

  • Thanksgiving

  • Practical Survey of Actions

  • Sorrow and Contrition

  • Responding in Practical Hope


Prayer processing goals

Prayer Processing Goals

  • To develop contemplative noticing around A.R.R.R.

  • To continue to deepen the awareness of the distinctions between

    • Thoughts, feelings, desires, body sensations

    • Levels of the Heart

    • Consolation and Desolation

  • To model contemplative spiritual direction.


  • Prayer processing questions

    Prayer Processing Questions

    • What were you thinking and feeling?

    • What did you notice God doing?


    Small group exercise

    Small Group exercise…

    Give examples of someone in both:

    • Spiritual consolation and psychological consolation

    • Spiritual consolation and psychological desolation

    • Spiritual desolation and psychological consolation

    • Spiritual desolation and psychological desolation


    Hard consolation

    Hard Consolation

    Level III

    Union with God

    Level II

    Psychological Pain


    Dark night

    Dark Night

    Level III

    “Presence” = Union with God by faith

    Level II

    “Night” = Absence of felt consolation


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