St. Ignatius gave the church a powerful tool to use against our enemy in spiritual warfare and in spiritual direction. The tool is a set of rules to follow while living with the understanding we have an enemy bent on the destruction of our soul and the limitation of our spiritual growth.
Eighth Rule. The eighth: let the one who is in desolation work to be in patience, which is contrary to the vexations which come to him, and let him think that he will soon be consoled, diligently using the means against such desolation, as is said in the sixth rule.
What this means is simply, don’t give in. In times of spiritual desolation, we will find it hard to pray. The answer to this is to pray even more. In times of spiritual desolation, we will find it harder to focus on spiritual matters. The answer is to focus even more on spiritual matters.
Spiritual desolation and non-spiritual desolation are very difficult to deal with. It can be a major struggle when things are not going well in one’s life. When you have been betrayed, slandered, discarded without regard, and then stepped on by a world that sees no value in you at all, desolation can be a crushing weight and continual searing emotional pain that seems hopeless.
When in such a state, it is time to reflect upon the last days of Jesus. It is time to rejoice that you have been given the opportunity to feel. It is time to put things in a perspective beyond the moment and let yourself be present with the one who is with you, the one who feels everything you feel. The one who has been there and rose from the grave to show us the day of consolation will come.