How To Survive Desolation:Insights From St. IgnatiusThomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.Number 314Emphasis on healthy ministry is nothing new. It has been around since the writings of the prophets and the disciples. Christian leaders in subsequent centuries continued that tradition. They, too, wrote of consolation and hope in times of difficulty and persecution.Consolation vs. DesolationThe Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius 1491-1556 is a one such example. In his “Rules For The Discernment Of Spirits,” he addresses the issue of consolation and desolation. “Consolation,” he wrote, is when “the soul is aroused by an interior movement which causes it to be inflamed with love of its creator and Lord, and consequently can love no created thing on the face of the earth for its own sake, but only in the Creator of all things.” Anthony Mottola, The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1964, p. 129.”Desolation,” in stark contrast to “consolation”, he defined as the “darkness of the soul, turmoil of the mind, inclination to low and earthly things, restlessness resulting from many disturbances and temptations which lead to loss of faith, loss of hope, and loss of love. It is also desolation when a soul finds itself completely apathetic, tepid, sad, and separated as it were, from its Creator and Lord” Spiritual Exercises, p. 130.