"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

Motions or movements

ociones is a word that appears several times in the SpEx of St Ignatius of Loyola. He often combines it with the word interior in order to refer to the inner motions or movements of the soul, in the form of thoughts, feelings, or inclinations that arise during prayer or the retreat. These movements are essential for discernment in the Ignatian spiritual tradition.

St Ignatius distinguishes between two types of inner movements:

Consolation (consolación): These are movements that bring a sense of peace, joy, and closeness to God. Consolation often leads to a greater love for God and others and a deepening of faith and hope.

Desolation (desolación): These movements cause feelings of darkness, anxiety, and separation from God. Desolation can lead to doubt, despair, and a sense of being cut off from God's love.

Nevertheless, one must exercise great care. Because, according to St Ignatius, inner movements of consolation or desolation can be used by the enemy to propose or to make the motion of apparent pleasures. I quote "He fills their imagination with sensual delights and gratifications, the more readily to keep them in their vices and increase the number of their sins" (SpEx 314). And in another, Ignatius writes, "For just as in consolation the good spirit guides and counsels us, so in desolation the evil spirit guides and counsels. Following his counsels we can never find the way to a right decision" (SpEx 318). No wonder there is what we call false consolations. These false consolations can deceive us if we are not vigilant. The role of a spiritual guide is to help us discern where we are spiritually, guiding us to recognize true consolations from God and reject the deceptive counsel of the evil one.

"Mociones" typically refers to formal motions or proposals in meetings or assemblies. We must know where it is coming from, who is making the motion. Beware when we seek consolations—those moments of peace, joy, and closeness to God. Our ultimate goal is not merely these consolations but the God who grants them. St. Ignatius of Loyola teaches us to focus on the Giver, not just the gifts. By doing so, we anchor our faith in God’s unchanging love rather than transient emotional states.

The second point, is a word about making judgments. One of the pitfalls in our spiritual journey is the tendency to judge ourselves and others harshly.

When we judge, we become pushy and impatient. Instead, we must surrender judgment to the Lord, who is the author of all graces. Our task is to wait patiently for the Lord, trusting that He will turn our doubts and desolations into consolations in His time. The first reading is a reminder about how God deals with us just as he dealt with Adam and Eve after their fall. He asked them "Where are you?" God does not judge them. No. He is concerned about their whereabouts. In the retreat, he asks us the same question, "Where are you?" He constantly looks for us and after us in companionship and not to find fault in us. He is not after our perfection. The downfall of our first parents is they yielded to Satan's trickery. Satan’s trickery often lies in pointing out what we lack, creating a distorted mirror of ourselves to gain control, to be perfect, to be like God. By focusing on these negative reflections, we fall into discouragement and desolation. Recognize this deceit and turn instead to the truth of God’s love and presence in your life.

Finally, the relation between the language of judgment and the language of movement. Judgment kills the flow. It does not foster spiritual growth and alignment with divine will. Satan likes to interrupt the flow. It is a cruel language. The language of movement is one of compassion, mercy, and tenderness which is a core aspect of the Spiritual Exercises.

That is why again the invitation is to be gentle with yourselves, as the Lord is gentle towards us. When we practice self-compassion, not self-judgment, we open our hearts to receive God’s grace more fully, in His proper time. Amen. Fr JM Manzano SJ