Discerning the Holy Spirit v. Satan

I’m sure this is the sort of thing that ultimately takes a lifetime even for a Saint.

However, I’ve been wondering this for some time how to discern whether it is the Holy Spirit guiding me.

Are general “rules of thumb”? Are there traditional resources - other than my Parish Priest - that can guide me in this regard?

St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises has been recommended to me. Any other suggestions?

Thanks!

~cawbs

I wish I knew :frowning:

Do not confuse feelings, emotions and passions with the Holy Spirit.

It is not some physical feeling. Our bodies, our concupiscences and our minds have many pitfalls. We have to choose to do what is good and right and pray constantly.

The general rule is to not do anything contrary to anything taught by the Church.

3:24 All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us. 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God;
Test:
Is this “spirit” leading me to act in conformity with God’s commands and those of His Church?
Is this “spirit” leading me to act contrary to a commandment/s of God or His Church?

If it is at all contrary to the teaching of God and His Church, it is not the Holy Spirit who is guiding you.

So I guess you don’t agree with St. Ignatius then on Consolation/Desolation?

Can you explain?

obey the teachings of the Church and you will know that it is the HS that is guiding you.

3:24 All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us. 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God;
Test:
Is this “spirit” leading me to act in conformity with God’s commands and those of His Church?
Is this “spirit” leading me to act contrary to a commandment/s of God or His Church?

If it is at all contrary to the teaching of God and His Church, it is not the Holy Spirit who is guiding you

I’m afraid it’s a little more complicated than that. You can think you’re obeying the teachings of the Church and still be influenced by Satan.

Yes, but really it’s best to get it straight from him. I’ll try to summarize as best as I can when I get a chance.

yes, i do agree. we are limited. remember St Peter? when Jesus said get behind me satan and he had just said that Jesus was the Son of the living God.
remember David? he had commited a terrible crime, yet he said, Lord do not take your Holy Spirit from me.

i am afraid we will have to continue to repent since we will not be able to discern all things. at least one can pay attention to the teachings of the Church and be faithfull.
i am talking about the True teachings of the Church. as we know now and days we have too many falsehoods withing the Church claiming to be the teachings of the Church.

Quoted for truth. Exactly.

Sometimes we’re most in danger when we’re most convinced we’re doing the will of God. Et cetera.

I’ll write a longer post when I get a chance based on St. Ignatius - truly mindblowing how crafty the Evil One can be, often enlisting one’s noblest aspirations and intentions. But then again, God is using him too towards a good end. It’s frankly bewildering.

You’re exactly right about the true teachings of the Church - which is why the current confusion is so dangerous. And the result, no doubt, of many in the Church being led astray in the first place, surely thinking they were doing the Lord’s work.

More later…

yes, very much so. specially now and days in which so few believe that the devil still exists. some have become so self righteous that they have come to believe that satan is some superstious thing of the pass. this is happening right in our midst. when you hear a bishop or a priest saying that devil is no longer to be believed, i think this is pretty much a giver. if Jesus spoke of satan then, He is still to be believed in our days. we are no different from the people back then. the more we take the devil for granted, the more we have the tendency to fall in his traps. i dont know about you, but where i live, i never heard a priest talk about satan. never.
.

I didn’t say that. I said that if one has doubts, do not follow emotions or other things which can mislead. Follow the Church, regardless of how one feels. Choose to do right, instead of being guided by mental or physical feedback.

Discerning the spirits is easy in this regard. If it contradicts anything that is known to be true, then reject it.

The problem, as I see it, is not that.

The problem is when the apparition suggests or supports a theological opinion (which may to us seem rather benign). These are called theologoumena, and cannot be known for certain either way, Some theologoumena are in contradiction to others, and therefore the church has no consensus and allows divergent opinions on these seemingly harmless matters. Each new idea, once apparently resolved, suggests new questions.

An apparition can influence our thinking, making something which is actually incorrect into a popular notion. These can build upon one another over time and can move the church into a direction we should not be going, affecting our prayer life and even our behavior.

I’m sorry but I don’t agree friend.

To begin with, if this was so easy, then why is discernment a major preoccupation of Saints like Ignatius?

For example, looking at just the first clause - “if one has doubts…” - and yet, conversely, one must be watchful perhaps especially when one does not have doubts.

et cetera…

your goal is to discern reality of apparitions ? the theologoumena can be subtle then look at context. first where is humility ? when you listen it (in yourself), in the apparition, in the visionar and in others listeners (with all of them you can apply the general pieces of advice from St Ignatius of Loyola). you may also consider saint john of the cross who is hignly versed in locutions, corporal visions and so on. His view is don’t searching extraordinary manifestation. in all cases, revelation is closed, because we have by the church the entire revelation and its ultimate key, our Lord Jesus, God the Word. in all cases fruition of all particular grace, is given by god, even if we don’t want to have it, by prudence. Prudence is also supernatural virtu (power,strength), that please to the Lord highly. And in saint john’s spirit you may also contact a good mystical theologian, priest preferably, because visions are more subtles and complex than we believe currently.
Believe multisecular Church wisdom before your own is vital, and it is catholic attitude of respect to its authority given by God. spiritual orgueil affect intelligence (the spiritual eye), it is the most terrible thing. humility is the criteria.(like in saint bernadette)

theology isn’t necessary like ingeneering progress. because it isn’t a building or sky-scrapper. theologian don’t get to construct our faith, but explicit its dimensions. the apparition can only get some particular viewing for our own (temporal or spiritual) salvation.

:thumbsup:

oh ! Yes ! sentimentalism, sentiment liyism ! look at saint Antony of the desert. who had look all the tricks and links who captives humans thus in great desolation he had asked “who can escape of it !” and a voice had responding to him “humility !”. we have to fight against evil spirits, and they can sometimes produce great artifices in our sensibility and imagination. but fallen angels haven’t no part with supernatural life. naturaly they are most powerful then us, But we have the Grace of our Lord, by his holy sacrifice on the cross, by it He give to us access to the world of supernatural life. in supernatural moral, humility is like cardinal, its comand under the suprems virtues of faith,hope and charity, all our powers and capacities. the man’s enemy don’t can access to it. Never.
that’s why humility is so important in sanctification of ourself, and in discerning of good spirit and evil spirit. all the saints are humbles and only them !
you can obtain great knowledge but without humility you obtain your loss too. only God unify knowledge and humility, only this union give to us alacrity too ! Because only God is the Charity. evils spirits and mortal sinners men haven’t got any parcells of charity. any kind of humility they have natural forces only. humility vanquish our ennemy all times, because it proceed from the Grace of our Lord directly.

get humble in all part of your life, and look at the humility in doubtfull ways.
in other words, look at the Church and its Tradition that incompass, Doctors of the Church, magisterium, sacraments, saints exemples… and also humility.

I agree about humility… it’s probably the greatest weapon, together with prayer. It also includes obedience to the Church and to a spiritual director if the person has one.

The Holy Spirit leads the person to manifest Christian virtues.

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