Listen closely. God may be trying to speak to you.
In his writings on the topic of the discernment of spirits, St. Ignatius Loyola provides specific instructions on how to identify the voices you hear in your soul, whether in prayer or while going about your daily duties. In particular, Loyola details the attributes of God’s voice.
Loyola explains, “it is proper to God and to His Angels in their movements to give true spiritual gladness and joy, taking away all sadness and disturbance which the enemy brings on.” Furthermore, “It belongs to God our Lord to give consolation to the soul without preceding cause, for it is the property of the Creator to enter, go out and cause movements in the soul, bringing it all into love of His Divine Majesty.”
Additionally, “We ought to note well the course of the thoughts, and if the beginning, middle and end is all good, inclined to all good, it is a sign of the good Angel.”
However, before we can properly discern these voices in our soul it is necessary to discern the state of our soul. Loyola writes that if the soul is moving from “good to better” the good Angel touches “sweetly,” but if the soul is moving from “bad to worse” than the opposite is true and the good spirit can seem sharp and try to kick us back in the right direction.
In general, if we are striving to draw closer to God, he will speak to us in the silence of our hearts with peace and joy. It will likely not be in the form of an earthquake, lightning bolt, or flames of fire, but as Elijah heard, in “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12).
The next time you are trying to discern who is speaking to your soul, stop and go over St. Ignatius’ steps of discernment. It might be God who is knocking at the door of your heart, desiring to give you the peace, joy and gladness that will satisfy your spiritual thirst.
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