Be Aware of the False “Angel of Light” by St. Ignatius

“The sixth: When the enemy of human nature has been perceived and known by his serpent’s tail and the bad end to which he leads on, it helps the person who was tempted by him, to look immediately at the course of the good thoughts which he brought him at their beginning, and how little by little he aimed at making him descend from the spiritual sweetness and joy in which he was, so far as to bring him to his depraved intention; in order that with this experience, known and noted, the person may be able to guard for the future against his usual deceits.” ~ Spiritual Exercises, 2nd week Rule 6

We can learn that when in desolation, we will be tempted to do things that seem “good and holy” but that do not withstand the Ignatian tests:

  • Am I drawn to make a change while in desolation?
  • Am I drawn to secrecy?

Job in the Old Testament = a hero of desolation.

  • Job’s friends are the false angels tempting him to do incorrect “holy” actions.
  • Job accuses and scolds God and God commends Job!
Q. How do I guard against this false angel of light? 
  • Do not take any holy attractions at face value.
  • Test them using Ignatius’ insights.
  • Will this action lead to greater faith, hope, and love in me?
  • Am I making a crucial change during desolation?
  • Am I transparent in confession, with my spiritual director, mentors and companions, or would I hesitate to tell them about this attraction?
  • Am I attracted to this right now b/c it would be a means of escaping an uncomfortable situation?
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