The Ignatian Year XVII: Opposing Force Fields

I’ve been re-reading Dean Brackley’s The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times, which I first read shortly after it was published.  There is much in the book that I continue to appreciate greatly.

One of the many things that I have always found helpful is Brackley’s way of describing the pill of God and that of what we sometimes label as the enemy spirit.  He writes:

Like the writers of the New Testament, Ignatius presupposes that we live in a kind of double force-field.  Human beings, their relationships, and their institutions exhibit two kinds of tendencies: movement toward light (truth), freedom, love and life, and movement in the opposite direction toward darkness (lies), slavery, egoism and death….Just how we label the power of evil is less important than recognizing it in operation.

While Ignatius speaks in his Spiritual Exercises of Satan and his demons as pulling us in the direction of darkness , one need not share his personification of evil to intuitively understand the pull of that force.  To know that even when we are well-intentioned and want to be our best selves, that the pull in the direction of darkness can be a strong one.  As Brackley writes

We may consider the ancients primitive dupes for personifying evil.  That is not the most serious issue.  It is far more dangerous to miss what the ancients understood: that our minds and moral resources are no match for the “mystery of iniquity.”

Note that this is a the seventeenth in a series of posts in celebration of the Ignatian Year, which began on May 20 of this year.