By: Edwin Yip; 譯:Julia Lee

Earlier this year, I read the book pictured on the left, after receiving it as a gift from a Catholic friend. Learning to listen to God’s voice is an important aspect of being a faithful servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not always an easy task. We are bombarded by distractions and many other voices in our daily lives. Hence, the importance of spending time being still before God (Psalm 46:10)

If you have not heard of Ignatius before, here is a summary extracted from the book. “St. Ignatius of Loyola was a sixteenth-century solider-turned-mystic who founded the Catholic religious order known as the Jesuits. In addition to being universally regarded as one of the great mystics of the church, St. Ignatius of Loyola is sometimes called ‘the world’s first psychologist.’”

As you can guess from the title, this book is about discernment. According to Ignatius, there are two types of voices or spirits that are pulling us in one direction or the other.

False SpiritTrue Spirit
also referred to as “the evil spirit”also referred to as “the good spirit”
Away from God’s planToward God’s plan
Away from faith, hope and loveToward faith, hope and love
Desolation = under influence of false spiritConsolation = under influence of true spirit

This book tells us how to recognise each of these spirits, how to respond to each one, and how to move from discerning spirits to making decisions consistent with God’s will for our lives. In short, we should avoid making any impulsive or weighty decisions when we are in a state of desolation (because we are not aligned with God’s will at that moment in time). All of us will no doubt go through many peaks and valleys during our lifetime. As such, consolation is a good time to deepen our roots and prepare for any storms that we may face in the future. It is important to note that peaks are not synonymous with consolation nor valleys with desolation. Despite sufferings and trials, the Apostle Paul has shown us what it means to be in consolation (Philippians 4:12-13). Likewise, when everything seems to be smooth sailing in our lives, we may not necessarily be stepping in-synch with God. While the book (or Ignatius) does not specifically mention the Holy Spirit and Satan, I think there is clearly some correlation with True and False Spirit respectively.

Lastly, I want to mention that listening to God’s voice is a great start but an incomplete action on its own. We also need to learn to obey (after hearing what God has to say), trusting in God’s plan and timing, even when we do not fully understand.


如果你從來沒有聽說過依納爵,這是從書中摘錄的簡介:「聖依納爵.羅耀拉是16世紀的一位軍人,後來成為尋求上帝藉以明白祂的旨意的神學家。他是天主教耶穌會的會祖,被舉世認為是教會最偉大的神學家之一;有時被稱為『 世界上第一位心理學家』。」


也被稱為 「邪惡的靈」 也被稱為 「良善的靈」
靈裏荒涼 = 受虛假的靈影響  靈裏安慰 = 受真正的靈影響 

這本書告訴我們如何識別這兩種不同的靈,如何回應他們,如何從明辨真正的靈而做出符合上帝對我們生命旨意的決定。簡而言之,在我們處於靈裏荒涼的狀態時,應該避免做出任何衝動或重大的決定(因為我們當時不是行在上帝的旨意裏)。我們的一生必會經歷許多高峰和低谷。因此,靈裏得到安慰時,是加深我們的根基的好時機,好為未來可能面臨的任何風暴做好準備。要注意,高峰並不等同靈裏得安慰,低谷又不一定是靈裏荒涼。儘管經歷了苦難和試驗,我們在靈裏亦得到安慰,就像使徒保羅向我們展示一樣 (腓立比書4:12-13)。同樣,當我們生活好像一帆風順時,我們未必就是與上帝同步。雖然這本書(或依納爵)沒有特別提到聖靈和撒旦,但我認為顯然與真正和虛假的靈有一些相關性。