This rule helps to prepare you how to live in moments of desolation, explaining what’s going on. Assuming that you are going through it right now, you are either devouring every word that you read here because you’re eager to get out, not reading anything because as you don’t feel anything you’ve lost interest, or reading it doubtfully because there doesn’t seem to be any solution. I’m going to act as if you fall under the first option, and will continue writing, as you are interested in what I (and our friend St. Ignatius) say.
If you’ve been following the previous rules, the seventh won’t seem very new. In the words of St. Ignatius, translated: “Let him who is in desolation consider how the Lord has left him in trial in his natural powers, in order to resist the different agitations and temptations of the enemy; since he can with the Divine help, which always remains to him, though he does not clearly perceive it: because the Lord has taken from him his great fervor, great love and intense grace, leaving him, however, grace enough for eternal salvation.”
Why? To test you. Why? Because He loves you. God tests, but He doesn’t tempt. There’s a difference. God tests so that you grow in generosity, fighting to show your love and perseverance. The devil tempts in order to make you fall. But in this moment, you have to remember that, although God has taken away the joy, fervor, etc., He will give you the grace to push through and not fall into sin. But you have to show that you’re up for the task.
This is true for anything that you begin. I bet at least once in your life you’ve made a resolution to keep in shape: running, eating better, lifting weights, or sleeping the time necessary (and no more!). What happened shortly after? I remember hearing a statistic about the high percentage of New Year’s Resolutions that are abandoned within... Two weeks? Two days? Two hours? Alarming. After beginning something, right away we return to our lazy ways. Well if it happens in the material world, don’t be surprised that it happens in the spiritual world. But here there’s a lot more put on the line.
St. Augustine said: “He who is not tempted is not put to the test, and he who is not put to the test, does not progress.” How are you going to get a good grade in class if you never have exams? Humble yourself to recognize your weakness, and get to work. God is smiling upon you.
Keep on keeping on,
Another Beginner, but with really good teachers