Lent, 1st Sunday (A) If you want to succeed at your spiritual spring training, you need to listen to the voice of your coach, the Holy Spirit. How do we know which voice is speaking to us? We turn to St. Ignatius, a master in the discernment of spirits. He says that the good spirit and the enemy spirit work in opposite ways. How they are working depends on which direction a person is moving:

  1. In a person moving away from God, the bad spirit will try to lull him into a sense of complacency. The good spirit acts like a kick in the pants, pricking and poking the person into action.
  2. In a person moving towards God, the good spirit strengthens and encourages. But the bad spirit acts to frustrate, discourage, and deceive a person into quitting.

Discernment is about the Who, not the what. Who is speaking to me? If it's Jesus calling, say Yes, even if it's difficult. God will give peace in your heart and strength to do His will. If the enemy is calling, say No, even if it looks really good. Pay attention to the movements in your life and you can teach yourself to listen to your coach and ignore the other voices. That's spring training lesson #1.

(1 Mar 2020)

Going Deeper: Meditate on these wise words from St. Ignatius and consider the different movements active in your life recently. Can you identify who was behind those movements?


The first Rule: In the persons who go from mortal sin to mortal sin, the enemy is commonly used to propose to them apparent pleasures, making them imagine sensual delights and pleasures in order to hold them more and make them grow in their vices and sins. In these persons the good spirit uses the opposite method, pricking them and biting their consciences through the process of reason.

The second: In the persons who are going on intensely cleansing their sins and rising from good to better in the service of God our Lord, it is the method contrary to that in the first Rule, for then it is the way of the evil spirit to bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on; and it is proper to the good to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well doing.

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