Extracted from Fr Thomas Green's Weeds Among the Wheat book:
"... IMAGINE A SITUATION in which a devout and generous person is misunderstood and criticized. Despite her good intentions, her religiuos superior or her peers misread her motives or criticize her work. This is painful to any normal human being.
"And so the soul in quesiton feels hurt and frustrated. Moreover, being sincere and devout, she begins to wonder if maybe she is deceived and deceiving others. And so goes before the Lord in the tabernacle in a state of misery and distress - of desolation. There are sensible causes for her feelings, but these are all causes apt produce (as they do) not consolation but desolation.
"And yet, as she kneels helplessly and almost hopelessly before her Lord, suddenly she seems to hear him say interiorly: "You came to this life for me and not for these people. All that matters is what I think of you." And she is very much at peace in the midst of the pain. She was not meditating on why she came or giving her a pious sermon (which would be a preceding cause); the realization and the peace simply came together, as if "out of the blue". And the depth of peace she feels may very well coexist with continued surface pain in the feelings."
"... God alone can give consolation to the soul without any preceding cause ... that is, without any previous perception or knowledge of any subject by which a soul might be led such a consolation through its own acts of intellect and will." -- St Ignatius, Rule 2 (#330)
ANOTHER PIECE OF THE PUZZLE seemed to fall into place as i read Fr Green's book some time last week, before the fifth lesson. That incident last May (see Meek and Humble of Heart) could very well be a consolation without preceding cause, seen through Fr Green's explanation and illustration in the book. Yet another confirmation? What a gift! What an honor!
Reaped an unexpected insight during Lesson Five of the discernment seminar series last Thursday. One participant J. asked Fr P. what the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are. She pointed out pertinently that it's through proper exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we'll attain the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:20-24). He suggested that we turn to Isaiah 11.
"But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord." (Isaiah 11:1-3)
But there are only six, and not seven, gifts. Later did a Google search and found that according to an article in St Anthony Messenger, "The ancient Greek and Latin translations of this passage read 'piety' for 'fear of the Lord' in line six; this gives us our traditional seven gifts": namely, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord.
Yesterday afternoon, during LRSS at St Ignatius, was reminded strongly of the fruits of the Holy Spirit again. The lesson covered John 14 (Last Supper Discourses and The Advocate) and John 15 (The Vine and the Branches). One question went, "In your parish what are the fruits of discipleship that glorify God (15:8)?"
While someone spoke of certain concrete benefits reaped in a church ministry, Galatians 5:20-24 came to mind and stayed and stayed.