20140609 Rooted in God 植根主內

Consolation and desolation are the ups and downs in spiritual life. We should focus on God and be rooted in Him at all times, so that both consolation and desolation can become opportunities for our sanctification.

Spiritual consolation
St. Francis de Sales gave these special rules regarding spiritual consolation:
1. True devotion does not consist of spiritual consolation.
2. “Tender warm emotions are sometimes good and useful, for they kindle the spiritual appetite, cheer the mind, and infuse a holy gladness into the devout life, which embellishes all we do even externally.”
3. “If our spiritual tenderness and sweetness and consolation make us more humble, patient, forbearing, charitable, and kindly towards our neighbours, more earnest in mortifying our own evil inclinations and lusts, more diligent in our duties, more docile and submissive to those who have a claim to our obedience, more simple in our whole manner of life, then doubtless, my child, they come from God.
“But if this sweetness and tenderness is sweet only to ourselves, if we are fanciful, bitter, punctilious, impatient, obstinate, proud, presumptuous, harsh towards our neighbour, while reckoning ourselves as half-made saints, not docile to correction or guidance, then we may be assured our consolations are spurious and hurtful. A good tree will bring forth none save good fruit.”
4. “If we are favoured with any such sweetness, we must humble ourselves deeply before God, and beware of being led to cry out, ‘How good I am!’ No indeed, such gifts do not make us any better, for, as I have already said, devotion does not consist of such things; rather let us say, ‘How good God is to those who hope in Him, and to the souls that seek Him!’
“If a man has sugar in his mouth, he cannot call his mouth sweet, but the sugar; and so although our spiritual sweetness is admirable, and God Who imparts it is all good, it by no means follows that he who receives it is good.”

Desolation of soul
When we experience desolation of soul or spiritual dryness, we should examine if we ourselves are the cause of it. St. Francis de Sales pointed out: “A mother refuses sugar to her sickly child, and so God deprives us of consolations when they do but feed self-complacency or presumption.”
“If we neglect to gather up and use the treasures of God’s love in due time, He withdraws them as a punishment for our sloth.”
Steeping one’s heart in worldly gratifications and the lack of frankness in confession or in spiritual direction can also be the causes of spiritual dryness.
If, after careful examination of conscience, we discover the root of spiritual dryness to be in ourselves, we should thank God for the discovery, for the evil is half cured when we have ascertained the cause. However, if the cause cannot be found, St. Francis advised the following:
1. “Humble yourself profoundly before God, acknowledging your nothingness and misery.”
2. “Call upon God, and ask for His gladness.”
3. “Go to your confessor, open your heart thoroughly, let him see every corner of your soul, and take all his advice with the utmost simplicity and humility.”
4. Avoid being overly eager for deliverance from dryness, but place yourself at the entire disposal of God’s Providence.
5. Do not omit any devotional exercise, and, if possible, increase your good works.
Regarding spiritual dryness, St. Francis said, “In this respect we should work all the more to prove our trust, for one act performed in dryness is worth many performed with pleasure. Though less agreeable, the love which prompts it is far more profound.”

靈修生活會有起跌 —— 慰藉與孤寂的時刻,所以,我們應當專注於天主,並常植根於祂內,好讓無論靈修生活上的感覺如何,都是聖化我們的機會。

 

靈性的慰藉

 

聖方濟.沙雷對界定「靈性慰藉」,有如下的指引:

 

  1. 真正的熱心,並不在於靈性上會感到慰藉。
  2. 的確,「有時候,溫暖善感的情緒,會有利及有助我們靈魂燃點對天主的愛火,舒暢心神,傾注聖善的喜悅於熱心的生活中,修飾了我們內外的行為。」
  3. 「假如這些溫暖慰藉的善感,能使我們更趨謙和遜守、耐心含忍、願意給別人更大的愛心,又能促使我們擯棄邪念、善盡本份,對依附自己的人溫良恭謹,渡簡樸的生活;那麼、我兒,必定是來自天主。但假如這些善感只留存於內在這感覺,反使自己覺得與別不同、儼如聖者,對別人挑剔難耐、令人難堪,又自大自傲、膽大妄為、固步自封,那肯定是虛假的浮念,有害而無益。須知道,善樹只會結善果。」
  4. 「如果我們喜愛那洋溢甜蜜的善感,則應在天主面前謙遜,切忌自滿,要承認全因『天主善待仰賴祂、尋找祂的人』。明白這善感不源於我們的熱心,亦無助我們的靈修。譬如一個人口中有糖,甜味來自糖而非他的口腔。同樣,靈性的善感只因天主願意跟隨祂的人,可以分享祂的美善。」

 

靈性的孤寂

 

萬一靈性上感到孤寂或受神枯所困,我們應檢視成因。聖方濟指出:母親不會用糖喂食自己的病孩;同樣,我們不善用天主恩賜,卻流於自滿傲慢,天主會剝奪我們靈性上的善感,以作懲罰和警戒。

 

過份喜愛世物,辦告解或尋求神修指導時缺乏坦誠,也會令靈魂感到乾涸。

 

經過謙遜及坦誠的自省後,找到神枯的源頭或成因,便要感謝天主,蓋能揭其劣根,已是癒療的半功。

 

不過,聖方濟對未能找到神枯的源頭或成因的人提出建議:

 

  1. 在天主台前,深切謙遜,承認自己的虛無與貧乏。
  2. 向天主呼求,祈求祂的神樂。
  3. 向告解神師徹底坦誠,讓他洞悉我們靈魂的深處,以單純和謙卑的心,謹領其言、盡遵其導。
  4. 避免急於脫離神枯,只仰賴天主的救助。
  5. 照常勤做熱心敬禮和神操;若可能作更多善功。

 

聖方濟認為:「神枯應該令我們更信賴天主。在神枯中事奉天主,比在喜樂中事奉天主,更形箇中價值,其愛更見誠深。」

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2 thoughts on “20140609 Rooted in God 植根主內

  1. Pingback: Wonderful article on spiritual consolation and desolation | Foolishness to the world

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