DOS#4 – The Second Rule – Discernment of Spirits w/ Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Méditation et la Contemplation Ignatienne Podcast

Episode 4 -The Second Rule:

In the persons who are going on intensely cleansing their sins and rising from good to better in the service of God our Lord, it is the method contrary to that in the first Rule, for then it is the way of the evil spirit to bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on; and it is proper to the good to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well-doing.

Father Gallagher revisits previous discussions on how the enemy facilitates a person’s movement away from God, using imagination and sensual images, while the good spirit endeavors to hinder this movement. The second rule flips this scenario, examining the dynamics when an individual earnestly strives to eliminate sin and draw nearer to God. It is here that the enemy employs tactics to disrupt – biting, saddening, placing obstacles, and disquieting with false reasons, all designed to prevent spiritual progress.

Listeners are treated to insightful examples and detailed analysis, offering a clear understanding of these spiritual dynamics. The episode also emphasizes the importance of recognizing and rejecting the enemy’s tactics, highlighting how discernment plays a crucial role in spiritual growth.

This profound discussion not only illuminates the struggles of the spiritual journey but also offers hope and guidance for overcoming these challenges. It’s a must-listen for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of their spiritual life and the forces that influence it.

Discerning Hearts reflection questions:

  1. Recognizing Spiritual Dynamics: Reflect on a time in your life when you felt hindered in your spiritual journey. Can you identify if these obstacles were a result of the enemy’s tactics, as described by St. Ignatius in the second rule? How did you respond to these challenges?
  2. Discernment in Action: How can you apply the principles of discernment, as discussed by Father Gallagher, to differentiate between the disquieting actions of the enemy and the comforting presence of the good spirit in your daily life?
  3. The Role of the Good Spirit: Consider a moment when you felt uplifted, encouraged, or found unexpected strength in your faith journey. How do you see the role of the good spirit in these instances as described in the second rule of St. Ignatius?
  4. Personal Struggles and Growth: Reflect on the concept that through trials and tribulations, as mentioned in the podcast, we grow closer to God. Can you recall a personal struggle that, in hindsight, brought you closer to your faith and strengthened your relationship with God?
  5. Application of Ignatian Spirituality: How can the teachings of St. Ignatius, especially the second rule, help you in making everyday decisions that align with your faith? Consider an upcoming decision or current dilemma and apply the rule to see how it might guide your choice.

ignatius3 The Discernment of Spirits: Setting the Captives Free – Serves as an introduction to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola

The 14 Rules for Discerning Spirits –
“The Different Movements Which Are Caused In The Soul”
as outlined by St. Ignatius of Loyola can be found here

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:

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

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.