Saturday, January 16, 2010

Consolation and Desolation

Ruth Haley Barton in her book Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership writes about the inner dynamics of consolation and desolation, referencing St. Ignatius of Loyola...

Consolation is the interior movement of the heart that gives a deep sense of life-giving connection with God, others and my most authentic self in God. It is the sense that all is right with the world, that I am free to be given over to God and to love even in moments of pain and crisis. Desolation is the loss of a sense of God's presence. I feel out of touch with God, with others and with my most authentic self. It is the experience of being off-center, full of turmoil, confusion and maybe even rebellion.

Experiences of consolation and desolation are not right or wrong; they just are. They need not be particularly momentous; in fact, they might seem relatively inconsequential until we learn topay attention and listen for what they have to tell us. God's will for us is generally for us to do more of that which gives us life (John 10:10) and to turn away from those things that drain life from us and debilitate us.
~ Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, p 67

As I listen, wait and pray, I can ask for things which bring about God's abundant life in me, not the life-draining kind. Sometime the "abundance" overflows when I am shopping for mission trips. Or listening to a friend over coffee. Or even folding laundry... Other times it is when I am standing alone in the middle of the labyrinth, listening, waiting and praying for God's direction.

I am learning I do not have to 'do' to be blessed and restored to the abundant life. Thank God I am not always a slow learner...

No comments: