Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Discernment of Spirits

by Timothy M. Gallagher

Grade: 4 stars

Thoughts: I liked this one even better than the first book I read by this author, Meditation and Contemplation. It was longer, for one thing, and had more discussion and slightly less examples. Although, actually, I'm not sure that I found the discussion or example quite so helpful as the actual set of Ignatian rules, which I'd never read before. And these rules, of course, you can find anywhere--you don't need a whole book. But still--here they were presented in a non-threatening manner, something that can be used by normal people trying to become close to God.

I don't want to discuss the rules in detail--there are far better discussions out there, including this book. But to point out one small thing: I was comforted by the assurance that spiritual consolation is a real thing one can encourage and enjoy without fear. I have a tendency to distrust my emotions, and often try to bring myself out of that kind of joy in case I'm deceiving myself somehow. (Yeah, it's rather silly.) And spiritual desolation isn't something one should just grin and bear, but actually actively resist. (Page 86 was the part that struck me here.) I'd never thought about it this way before, and it was refreshing.

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