SD5 – The Journey Through the Dark Night – Spiritual Desolation: Be Aware, Understand, Take Action with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Podcast

The Journey Through the Dark Night – Spiritual Desolation: Be Aware, Understand, Take Action with Fr. Timothy GallagherBA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Fr. Timothy Gallagher and Kris McGregor continue their discussion on spiritual desolation and introduce the concept of the “dark night”. They distinguish between the two, with desolation being a common experience and the dark night a specific phase in the spiritual journey.

Fr. Gallagher also addresses the role of doubt in the spiritual journey, pointing out that doubts can have various meanings and should be discerned individually. He stresses the need for fidelity to prayer and trust in God’s guidance.


Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Distinguishing Spiritual Desolation and the Dark Night: How does Father Gallagher differentiate between spiritual desolation and the dark night, emphasizing their distinct characteristics?
  2. Ignatius and the Initial Spiritual Journey: How does Ignatius’ early experiences reflect an initial step in the spiritual journey, moving beyond external heroism to a deeper understanding of spiritual life?
  3. Navigating Confusion and Doubt in the Spiritual Journey: How do confusion and doubt affect individuals on their spiritual journey, and what practical advice does Father Gallagher offer to navigate through these challenges?
  4. The Role of Doubt in Spiritual Experience: Father Gallagher discusses various forms of doubt and their implications, distinguishing between doubt in the existence of God and doubt within the context of one’s prayer life. How does he characterize these distinctions?
  5. Practical Wisdom for Discernment: What practical insights does Father Gallagher provide for navigating spiritual desolation and the dark night in the context of Ignatian spirituality? How does he emphasize the importance of discernment and spiritual direction?
  6. Timing and Generosity in the Dark Night: Father Gallagher shares insights on when a person might experience the dark night and suggests a general profile of individuals called to this phase. What role does generosity and dedication play in this process?
  7. Understanding Prayer as a Gift and Grace: How does Father Gallagher use Ignatius’ vocabulary to convey the idea that prayer is a gift and grace from God? What role does the human person play in this divine-human cooperation?
  8. St. Therese’s Analogy of Different Saints: How does St. Therese’s analogy of different flowers illustrate the diversity of saints and their unique journeys? What message does this convey about God’s work in individual souls?
  9. Trust in God’s Guidance in the Spiritual Journey: Summarize the key message regarding one’s role in the spiritual journey: fidelity to prayer, trust in God’s guidance, and acceptance of individual differences in the spiritual life.

You can find this book here

From  Setting the Captives Free: Personal Reflections on Ignatian Discernment of Spirits:

“The dark night, therefore, is an experience of infused contemplative prayer felt as painful because it is purifying; it prepares the person for greater union with God through higher states of infused contemplation. The difference between this purifying experience of prayer and the discouraging lies of spiritual desolation is evident. The first is a gift of God; the second is a trap of the enemy. By accepting the first, we grow; by rejecting the second, we grow.”


Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:   frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s “Discerning Hearts” page

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 9 – Discerning Hearts Podcasts

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 9

Think for a moment of the piety of the Madonna when the angel told her that the Spirit would overshadow her. What sentiments of humility, confidence and courage! At the very moment when she understood that God had given her His heart, that is, His Son, she gave herself to God. Her soul was flooded with charity, so she could say with the sacred spouse, “…My heart trembled within me, and I grew faint when he spoke.” [Sg:5:4] As far as we are concerned, we receive a similar grace in Communion, because not an angel but Jesus Christ Himself assures us that in it the Holy Spirit descends on us. Heavenly power covers us with its shadow and the Son of God really comes to us. He can say that He is conceived and born in us. Truly then, the soul can respond with the Madonna, “I am the servant of the Lord; let is be done to me as you say.” [Lk 1:38] (Spiritual Directory, Art. 12)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

<a href=”https://www.discerninghearts.com/catholic-podcasts/prayersdevotionals/st-francis-de-sales-novena-mp3-audio-download-and-text/”>For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here</a>

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St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 8 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 8

One of the greatest proofs of love that Jesus displayed on the cross was putting up with the imperfections of His neighbor. There He showed us that He has a heart that loves us tenderly and watches over us kindly. He even showed His love for those who put Him to death. In those dire moments the Savior expressed thoughts of love even for his executioners, pardoning them in the very act of sinning! How petty-minded we are when we cannot bring ourselves to forget some injury received, even after a long time! Whoever sincerely pardons another calls down abundant blessings and perfectly imitates Christ. (Spiritual Treatises IV; O. VI, pp. 65-66)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 7 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 7

Day 7

Our intellect is ordinarily full of ideas, opinions and considerations suggested by self-love. This is the root of many conflicts within the soul, putting before us all sorts of reasons dictated by human prudence to justify our pretensions. People who make use of this false prudence, instead of enlightening their intellect, obscure it. They reject advice given to them and let those reasons prevail in their minds which support their own opinions, even wrong ones. Make use of the virtue of prudence because it is good, but make good use of it. Employ it only rarely, with simplicity, and solely for the glory of God. (Sermons 30; O. IX, pp. 297-298)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 6 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 6

Do not pay any attention to the kind of work you do, but rather to the honor that it brings to God, even though it may seem quite trivial. Desire only to do the Divine Will, following Divine Providence, which is the disposition of Divine Wisdom. In a word, if your works are pleasing to God and recognized as such, that is all that matters. Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God’s will. (Letters 280; O. XIII, p. 53)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 5 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 5

This poor life is only a journey to the happy life to come. We must not be angry with one another on the way, but rather we must march on as a band of brothers and sisters united in meekness, peace and love. I state absolutely and make no exception: do not be angry at all if that is possible. Do no accept any pretext whatever for opening your heart’s door to anger. Saint James tells us positively and without reservation,” … a man’s anger does not fulfill God’s justice.” [Jas 1:20] (INT. Part III, Ch. 8; O. III, p. 162)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 4 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Day 4

Self-love dies only when our body dies, so we must, while we live in this land of exile, continue to counterattack its assaults on our senses and its underhanded tactics. It is enough if we firmly withstand, giving no willful or deliberate consent … When we feel within ourselves the first movements of self-love or of other passions, let us prostrate ourselves immediately before the heart of God and tell Him, in a spirit of confidence and humility, “Lord, have mercy on me because I am a very weak creature.” Then let us tranquilly rest in peace and put ourselves at God’s disposal. (Letters 1675; O. XIX, pp. 272-273)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 3 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 3

Day 3

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 3

 

I desire very little, and what I do desire I desire very little; I have hardly any desires, but if I were to begin my life all over again I would want to have none at all … Ask for nothing, refuse nothing; we must simply abandon ourselves into the hands of Providence, without nourishing any other desire but to do whatever God wills. St. Paul practiced this act of absolute abandonment at the very moment of his conversion. When he was deprived of his sight, he immediately said, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” [cf. Act 22:10] From that moment on he put himself completely at God’s disposal. All our perfection consists precisely in the practical application of this principle. (Spiritual Treatises XXI, O. VI, pp. 383-384)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 2 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 2

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 2 audio text podcast

Day 2

State openly that you desire to be devout. I do not say that you should assert that you are devout but that you desire to be devout. Do not be ashamed to practice the ordinary, necessary actions that bring us to the love of God. Acknowledge frankly that you are trying to meditate, that you would rather die than commit a mortal sin, that you are resolved to frequent the sacraments and to follow your director’s advice. This candid confession of our desire to serve God and to consecrate ourselves entirely to His love is most acceptable to His Divine Majesty. (INT. V, Ch. 18; O. III, p. 365)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 1 – Discerning Hearts Podcasts

St. Francis de Sales Novena – Day 1

Day 1

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 1 audio podcast text

There is no clock, no matter how good it may be, that doesn’t need resetting and rewinding twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. In addition, at least once a year it must be taken apart to remove the dirt clogging it, straighten out bent parts and repair those worn out. In like manner, every morning and evening a person who really takes care of his heart must rewind it for God’s service by means of certain practices of piety. At least once a year he must take it apart and examine every piece in detail; that is, every affection and passion, in order to repair whatever defects there may be. (INT. Part 5, Ch. 1; O. III, p. 340)

 

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9-Day St. Francis de Sales Novena – Mp3 audio and text visit here