Spiritual Growth vs. Spiritual Consolation, by Dr. Jeff Mirus

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St. Catherine of Siena

By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Sept. 26, 2019

Think about it: We are absolutely obliged by God to grow into union with Him as far as possible—using the fullness of the means made available through the Church established by His Son. But at the same time, we have absolutely no claim to spiritual consolations. We have no right to “feel good” in our spiritual progress.

In fact, it is all too easy to get bogged down in both genuine consolations and their counterfeits. When we receive consolations, we find them delightful, and mistakenly believe God is absent when He withdraws them. Thus did St. Catherine of Siena, so used to feeling God’s presence, complain that He had left her during a period of grave temptation. But God replied that this was not so. For if He had left her, she would have fallen.

Worse still, we cling to the religious practices which we have found consoling, and soon begin to use them to produce emotions which only mimic genuine consolation. We forget the example of Christ, who emptied Himself. Instead, the things we find “consoling” become for us signs of rectitude and stimulants to pride. ….

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