Christian Counseling Certification Program: Guiding Christians Through Discernment
When various inclinations or choices come to one at a macro or micro level, one in some cases needs to make a moral judgment on the choice. In some cases, the conscience can determine the value of the choice especially if the conscience is formed properly in accordance with God and his commandments. Sometimes, however, feelings and inclinations are more difficult to ascertain and the issue of discernment becomes critical. In these cases, counselors need to guide Christians through discernment. In these cases, St. Ignatius lays out ground work for pastors, Christian Counselors and those in ministry to help guide those in spiritual confusion.
In regards to temptations and inclinations, St. Ignatius points out that those lost in sin are
usually tempted via obvious pleasures that the person enjoys. On the contrary, however, those who possess sound judgment are tempted with remorse over the slightest pleasure. In these ways the spirit exploits one and torments the other. Discernment is needed in regards to the morality of the individual to understand the tactic and motive of the enemy. The spirits of good will encourage and give consolation when one seeks spiritual perfection but the spirits of evil will induce doubt and desolation for one who attempts to purify himself. These stages of desolation and consolation are extreme opposites in the spiritual life. One who can discern desolation as from the evil one, should endure the hardship to learn spiritual patience and offer his or her cross to God. These desolations also bring one to an understanding of how truly fragile human nature is without God. In these fashions when tempted via desolation, one should remain steadfast in his original plan and pray for the grace to overcome the spirit of evil.
It is the nature of evil to corrupt via desolations and false consolations. St. Ignatius makes note that the evil one, like an opposing commander, analyzes an individual and focuses on the weakest point of one’s defense. In this regard, one must be alert and always steadfast even in consolation because the evil one can deceive. First and foremost, God and good spirits cause genuine happiness in the soul, while the evil one causes confusion and sadness. While God and the good spirits give true consolations, the evil one will attempt via deceit to manifest true consolations. In this way, he diversifies his attack through not only desolation but also through trickery of an illusionary good. How can one discern if this good is truly good or an illusion? St. Ignatius teaches pastors, priests and other Christian Counselors many ways to identify false consolations. St. Ignatius points out that the beginning, middle and end should tend to wholly what is only good. If train of thought or motion leads one down a slippery slope of eventual evil, then it is not from God, but Satan. This is also true when the initial peace and harmony become weakened via confusion and noise. One can also sense the signs of the demonic by the similarity of the soul it wreaks havoc upon. If of likened desire, the evil spirit can enter into one’s mind quietly without notice because of the shared values, but when an evil spirit is different, his presence is immediately heard and seen because of the sensitivity of the man’s conscience.
In these regards, Christian Counseling should attempt to utilize discernment processes in helping and aiding others in the constant spiritual battle over the souls of men. Christian Counselors can be of great help and aid in directing people down moral and good paths via good discernment and understanding of a spiritual child’s soul and the intents of other spirits.
If you are interested in the Christian Counseling Certification Program, please review it.