In a previous post we explored the writings of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and how he devised a set of rules for the discernment of spirits. In reiteration Ignatius believed that humans often were influenced by either good spirits or evil ones and due to these influences we make either good decisions / actions or bad ones. With this post we will begin to explore these rules.
St. Ignatius Loyola wrote
“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.”
Have you ever woke up one day and realized that you had been over indulging in food, drink or other substances to the detriment of your body, career, family life, or general good will? At the time you were partaking of the items that led to your current state, do you remember the temptatious thoughts that seemed to just pop into your mind telling you to eat that extra serving of fattening food, or that extra glass of drink that made you more than inebriated, or perhaps the other substances that felt good at the time but contributed to a general decline in your health, family/social life and even career; perhaps even a time of incarceration.
Habitual over indulgence in anything to the point that you are now experiencing extreme negative issues is but one example of what Ignatius was writing about, any idea that pops into your mind that seems to say “ignore the consequences and just do it, ‘cause (at the time) it will feel so good,” is an influence of what Ignatius referred to as the enemy, conversely concepts that lead to remorse for partaking in activities that have resulted in consequences that are less than desirable are ideas from good spirits; in other words, God.
When an anomalous idea enters into your mind suggesting taking part in something that might be detrimental, do you take the time to ask yourself where did that idea come from? The next time such a concept filters into your consciousness take a moment to apply a basic bit of discernment and question the origin of that thought.
Say this prayer or one of your own (Psalm 25:4&5);
Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day
Go out into the world in peace; have courage; hold on to what is good; return no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the suffering; honor everyone; love and serve God; rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit!