During his catechesis series on discernment, the Pope addressed the moments of spiritual “desolation” in which Christians experience interior darkness.
The Pope said that it is important to discern what the Lord is trying to communicate through these moments, and that they can be a summons to “acknowledge our sinfulness and embrace God's offer of love and forgiveness.”
SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:
Dear brothers and sisters:
In our continuing catechesis on discernment, we now consider what the spiritual masters call “desolation,” those moments when we experience interior darkness, unrest and distance from God and from the consolations of faith.
For our spiritual growth, it is important to confront these dark nights of the soul and to discern what the Lord wishes to tell us through them. At times, desolation can be a summons to acknowledge our sinfulness and to embrace God’s offer of love and forgiveness.
Saint Thomas says that our souls, like our bodies, can experience a kind of pain that makes us aware of threats to our spiritual health. At other times, the experience of desolation can be a temptation to grow slack in prayer and in the discipline of the Christian life.
Here too, the great spiritual teachers urge us not to yield to this temptation, but to persevere, confident that by this testing the Lord will guide us to a fuller understanding of his gracious plan for our lives and a deeper union with him in faith, hope and love.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Malta, Indonesia, the Philippines and the United States of America. Upon all of you I invoke the joy and peace of Christ our Lord. God bless you!