Pope Francis: How can you tell true consolation from passing enthusiasm? – America: The Jesuit Review

Beneath is the textual content of Pope Francis’ weekly Wednesday viewers, delivered on Nov. 23, 2022.
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Expensive brothers and sisters, good morning!
We proceed the catechesis on the discernment of spirits and methods to discern them once they happen in our hearts and in our souls. After having thought-about a number of elements of desolation—that darkness within the soul—at present allow us to discuss comfort—which is mild within the soul and one other necessary factor in discernment, which isn’t to be taken with no consideration, as a result of it may lend itself to misunderstandings. We should perceive what comfort is, simply as now we have tried to grasp effectively what desolation is.
What’s religious comfort? It’s an expertise of inside pleasure, consisting in seeing God’s presence in every thing. It strengthens religion and hope, and even the power of doing good. The one who experiences comfort by no means offers up within the face of difficulties as a result of she or he all the time experiences a peace that’s stronger than any trial. It’s, due to this fact, an amazing reward for the religious life in addition to life normally…and to dwell this inside pleasure.
Comfort is an inside motion that touches our depths. It isn’t flashy however delicate, delicate, like a drop of water on a sponge (cf. St. Ignatius of Loyola, Religious Workouts, 335). The individual feels enveloped in God’s presence in a means that all the time respects his or her personal freedom. It’s by no means one thing out of tune, that tries to power our will; neither is it a passing euphoria. Quite the opposite, as now we have seen, even the struggling—precipitated for instance by our personal sins—can change into a motive for comfort.
Pope Francis: To be consoled is to be at peace with God, to really feel that every thing is settled in peace, every thing is in concord inside us.
Let’s recall the expertise Saint Augustine lived when he spoke together with his mom Monica about the fantastic thing about everlasting life; or of the proper pleasure of Saint Francis that was related to very tough conditions he needed to bear; and let’s consider the various saints who had been capable of do nice issues not as a result of they thought they had been magnificent or succesful, however as a result of they’d been conquered by the peaceable sweetness of God’s love. That is the peace that Saint Ignatius found in himself with such amazement when he would learn the lives of the saints. To be consoled is to be at peace with God, to really feel that every thing is settled in peace, every thing is in concord inside us.
That is the peace that Edith Stein felt after her conversion. A 12 months after she acquired Baptism, she wrote—that is what Edith Stein says: “As I abandon myself to this sense, little by little a brand new life begins to fill me and—with none stress on my will—to drive me towards new realizations. This residing inpouring appears to spring from an exercise and a energy that’s not mine and which, with out doing me any violence, turns into energetic in me” (Psicologia e scienze dello spirito, Città Nuova, 1996, 116). So, real peace is one which makes good emotions blossom in us.
Above all, comfort impacts hope, and reaches out towards the longer term, places us on a journey, permits us to take the initiative that had all the time been postponed or not even imagined, similar to Baptism was for Edith Stein.
Comfort is that kind of peace, however not that we stay sitting there having fun with it, no…. It offers you peace and attracts you towards the Lord and units you off to do issues, to do good issues. In a second of comfort, after we are consoled, we need to achieve this a lot good, all the time. As an alternative, when there’s a second of desolation, we really feel like closing in on ourselves and doing nothing…. Comfort pushes us ahead in service to others, society, different individuals.
Pope Francis: Let’s not confuse that peace with passing enthusiasm as a result of there’s enthusiasm at present, however then it’s taken away and isn’t any extra.
Religious comfort will not be “piloted”—you can’t say now that comfort will come—no, it isn’t it can’t be “piloted”, programmed at will. It’s a reward of the Holy Spirit. It permits a familiarity with God that appears to cancel distances. When she visited the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome on the age of fourteen, Saint Therese of the Baby Jesus tried to the touch the nail commemorated there, one of many nails with which Jesus was crucified. Therese understood her daring as a transport of affection and confidence. Later, she wrote, “I really was too audacious. However the Lord sees the depths of our hearts. He is aware of my intention was pure […] I acted with him as a baby who believes every thing is permissible and who considers the Father’s treasures their very own” (Autobiographical Manuscript, 183).
Comfort is spontaneous. Comfort leads you to do every thing spontaneously, as if we had been youngsters. Kids are spontaneous, and comfort leads you to be spontaneous with a tenderness, with a really deep peace. A fourteen-year-old lady offers us a splendid description of religious comfort. We are able to really feel a way of tenderness towards God that makes us audacious in our want to take part in his personal life, to do what is pleasant to him as a result of we really feel aware of him, we really feel that his home is our home, we really feel welcome, liked, restored. With this comfort, we don’t hand over within the face of issue—in reality, with the identical boldness, Therese would ask the Pope for permission to enter Carmel although she was too younger, and her want was granted.
What does this imply? It signifies that comfort makes us daring. After we discover ourselves in a second of darkness, of desolation, we expect: “I’m not able to doing this, no….” Desolation brings you down. Every little thing is darkish…. “No, I can’t do that…I can’t do it”. As an alternative, in instances of comfort, the identical issues—“No, I’m going forward. I’ll do it”. “However are you certain?” “I really feel God’s energy and I’m going forward”. And so, comfort pushes you to go forward and to do these issues that you wouldn’t be able to doing in a second of; it pushes you to take step one. That is what is gorgeous about comfort.
Comfort is spontaneous. Comfort leads you to do every thing spontaneously, as if we had been youngsters.
However let’s watch out. We should distinguish effectively between the comfort that comes from God and false consolations. One thing related occurs within the religious life that occurs in human productions: there are originals and there are imitations. If an genuine comfort is sort of a drop on a sponge, is delicate and intimate, its imitations are noisier and flashier, they’re pure enthusiasm, like straw fires, missing substance, main us to shut in on ourselves and to not handle others. In the long run, false comfort leaves us empty, removed from the centre of our existence. For that reason, after we really feel glad, at peace, we’re able to doing something. However let’s not confuse that peace with passing enthusiasm as a result of there’s enthusiasm at present, however then it’s taken away and isn’t any extra.

This is the reason now we have to discern even after we really feel consoled. False comfort can change into a hazard if we search it obsessively as an finish in itself, forgetting the Lord. As Saint Bernard would say, that is in search of the consolations of God moderately than the God of consolations. We have to search the Lord, and the Lord consoles us together with his presence. He consoles us, makes us transfer ahead. And we must always not search God who brings us consolations right here beneath: No, this isn’t proper, we shouldn’t be on this. That is the dynamic of the kid whom we spoke about final time who appears to be like for his or dad and mom solely to get one thing, however doesn’t search for them—she or he is in search of their very own pursuits. “Daddy, Mamma”—youngsters understand how to do that, they know methods to play…and when the household is split, and they’re accustomed to going to at least one and going to the opposite, this isn’t good, this isn’t comfort, however private curiosity.
We too run the danger of residing our relationship with God in a infantile means, in search of our personal pursuits, of lowering it to an object that we use and devour, dropping probably the most stunning reward which is God Himself. So, allow us to transfer ahead in our lives that progresses between the consolations from God and the desolations from the sin of the world, however understanding methods to distinguish when it’s a comfort from God that brings peace to the depths of your soul, from a passing enthusiasm, which isn’t unhealthy, however which isn’t a comfort from God.
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