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Discernment of Spirits: Rule 8 “In Desolation, Work Towards Patience”

Description: This week, Dan and Melissa discuss Saint Ignatius’ Discernment of Spirits: Rule 8 and his exhortation to work at achieving patience during desolation, looking ahead to the inevitable end of our suffering and returning to consolation with God.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Eighth Rule. “Let him who is in desolation labor to be in patience, which is contrary to the Discernment of Spirits: Rule 8vexations which come to him: and let him think that he will soon be consoled, employing against the desolation the devices, as is said in the sixth Rule.What is desolation?”
  • We must work to be patient. It is not easy.
  • How can we practice patience?
  • How does the enemy trick us into believing we must make a change in our spiritual lives?
  • How does one cope with long term experiences of desolation such as terminal illness?
  • Saint Ignatius suggests that we insist upon prayer, meditation, much examination and extending ourselves in penance.



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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Judy Silhan

    Had your morning cup of Spiritual Coffee yet? Yes. This idea struck me after listening today. A lot of people cannot start their day without their morning cup of coffee to awaken them and put their bodies into motion. Such is the case for me, at least every Friday morning; only my cup of coffee consists of Spiritual ingredients. Yes, I am definitely awakened Spiritually each Friday with my Spiritual Cup of coffee, and indeed, my mind is put into motion.

    Today, put into motion were the thoughts about your class, Dan, Discernment of Spirits, and how, as you said – “…90 – 95% of the students in the class had dramatic encounters with God and dramatic revelations… not mystical things.. They become totally awake to the forces of the enemy, surprised that he has had influence in their life, and delighted that they don’t have to be a victim anymore.”

    Being a student in a previous Discernment of Spirits class, I can attest to the truth of this, When you spoke of Fr. Gallagher’s thoughts on the possible title of his book, as being “setting the captives free,” again my mind was set in motion by realizing once more, that I had been set free from Satan’s powerful influence that I experienced during the years of illness. No longer am I a victim of what transpired so many years ago, and to my delight, each day, I know the enemy will do his best to regain his stronghold in my life; but with these rules of St. Ignatius, I learn, as today, how to effectively deal with these often daily attempts to take away my new-found joy.

    I loved and appreciated your comments on working to be in patience, and that it is not easy, even for someone who is not raising a young family, and the fact that our primary call is to a relationship with Christ, and requires work to patience, even fight to be in patience, in seeking that relationship. (I loved your reflection on Yoda – There is no try. Do or do not. Though humorous for such a program as Divine Intimacy, I found it quite true. Trying leaves you open for failure,) I have always been encouraged by what you said, Melissa, that St. Ignatius reminds us that there is definitely an end to the desolation we may be incurring. It’s not forever, as the evil one wants us to think.

    Better stop, or I will keep ranting about today’s broadcast. I anxiously await my next Spiritual Cup of coffee, and thank you both.

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