During his General Audience, Pope Francis described spiritual consolation. The Pope said it is 'a gift of the Holy Spirit' that has nothing to do with moments of passing joy and is compatible with living in the midst of difficulties.
Pope Francis said this gift 'makes us experience the presence of God within us.' He recommended following the example of the saints, whose 'secret' was to 'abandon themselves with trust into God's hands and let Him do His work in and through them.'
SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:
Dear brothers and sisters:
In our continuing catechesis on discernment, we now consider the experience of spiritual “consolation”, that sense of deep inner joy, a gift of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to sense God’s comforting presence and providential care in all things, even in moments of trial and difficulty. Saint Ignatius compares this grace-filled movement of the heart to a drop of water on a sponge: quietly and in full respect for our freedom, the Lord confirms us in faith and hope and confident trust in his undying love.
In the lives of great saints like Ignatius, Edith Stein and Therese of Lisieux, we see how experiences of spiritual consolation not only bring profound interior peace and conviction, but also grant the strength to accomplish extraordinary things in God’s service. The sign of an authentic consolation is precisely the serene, fruitful and lasting peace that it brings. Discernment is needed to distinguish true consolations from those that are false, shallow and self indulgent; in our spiritual journey, may we always heed the sound advice of Saint Bernard, who urges us to seek the consolations of God, and not the God of consolations.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Upon all of you I invoke the joy and peace of Christ our Lord. God bless you.