I’m Troubled and I’m Tempted; I’m Going to Fail – Struggles in the Spiritual Life with Fr. Timothy Gallagher O.M.V.
Fr. Timothy Gallagher and Kris McGregor continue a 20-part series on the various Struggles in the Spiritual Life. This episode explores spiritual discouragement and the disquiet that can come from temptations and ways the enemy can bring desolation into areas of nonspiritual vulnerability in our lives.
You can pick up a copy of the book here:
An excerpt from the chapter “I’m Troubled and I’m Tempted”:
John experiences a form of spiritual desolation that Ignatius describes as “disquiet from various agitations and temptations.” If John can identify his experience as the tactic of the enemy that it is — spiritual desolation — peace will begin to return, and he will be strengthened to resist it. If John is further aware that there is no shame in undergoing such spiritual desolation, that all do from time to time, he will be additionally encouraged in his struggle.
The enemy brings this spiritual desolation into a nonspiritual vulnerability in John: a place of worry — his understandable concern about the growth on his face and his anxiety as he awaits the results of the second biopsy. John deals well with this: he speaks with his wife, and he is faithful to prayer. Texts of the Bible help him. But even as he turns to the Lord, the enemy brings spiritual desolation, “disquiet from various agitations and temptations.” This need not surprise John or us! Ignatius helps us understand this experience and points the way to freedom.
Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Timothy ; Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Timothy. Struggles in the Spiritual Life: Their Nature and Their Remedies (p. 45). Sophia Institute Press. Kindle Edition.
An except from the chapter “I’m Going to Fail”:
Julie’s experience permits an important observation. If the enemy ordinarily brings spiritual desolation into areas of nonspiritual vulnerability (tiredness, discouragement, depression, and the like), then whatever you do to reduce or eliminate that nonspiritual vulnerability will greatly ease your spiritual life. If, for example, Julie and Bob communicate and resolve their tension, Julie will find herself much less susceptible to the “lack of confidence” described here. The same is true for all of us when we experience nonspiritual vulnerabilities. Julie also writes, “I’m up, then so quickly down. You and the others seem so much more stable and so faithful. I must be different.” A further lie of desolation is this: “It’s just you. Other people don’t go through this. You’re up, then down. Other people are steady. It’s only you.” Again, emphatically no!
When Julie knows the others better, and they share on a deeper level, she will find that all undergo these ups (times of spiritual energy, of feeling God’s closeness — that is, of spiritual consolation) and downs (times without spiritual energy, of not feeling God’s closeness — that is, of spiritual desolation). If you experience times of spiritual consolation and times of spiritual desolation, then you share the experience of every man or woman who has ever loved the Lord. What matters is — by now you can tell me! — to be aware, understand, and take action. Take action: that is, to accept God’s gift of spiritual consolation and to reject the enemy’s discouraging lies in spiritual desolation.
Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Timothy ; Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Timothy. Struggles in the Spiritual Life: Their Nature and Their Remedies (pp. 52-53). Sophia Institute Press. Kindle Edition.
To find more episodes from this series, visit the Struggles in the Spiritual Life Podcast
From the book’s description: “Here is a powerful, life-changing book that will help you understand and conquer the struggles you face in your spiritual life. It’s a book for those who love the Lord and desire holiness yet often feel adrift or stagnant in their search for spiritual growth.
All of us encounter valleys on our journey with the Lord — those periods of spiritual desolation that are a painful yet unavoidable feature of our prayer life. Spiritual desolation is as complex as we are, so understanding what is happening and responding to it properly are critical to reaching the heights of holiness.
With warmth and understanding, Fr. Gallagher carefully identifies in this book the various forms of spiritual and nonspiritual desolation and supplies the remedy for each. You’ll learn how to discern whether your struggles derive from medical or psychological conditions or whether those struggles are spiritual and permitted by the Lord for reasons of growth. In each case, you’ll be given the remedy for the struggle. You’ll also learn the forms of spiritual dryness and of the Dark Night — and how to respond to them.
In chapter after chapter, Fr. Gallagher presents a particular struggle as experienced by fictional characters and then provides the advice he gives to those who come to him for spiritual direction about that struggle. You’ll gain confidence as you journey through desolation, and you’ll learn to reject the enemy’s ploys to infect you with a sense of hopelessness.”
Did you know that Fr. Timothy Gallagher has 14 different podcast series on Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts?
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