We live in complicated times – some people refer to them as VUCA :   Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.  The Jesuit tradition has a valuable tool-kit to help us make decisions in these times.  St Ignatius calls them the ‘Rules of Discernment’ and they appear as supplementary material in the Spiritual Exercises. 

There are twenty-two rules in all – that are split into two categories.

The more basic – foundational rules are often referred to as ‘First Week Rules’ and consist of fourteen rules.  St Ignatius describes them as,’ Rules for perceiving and knowing in some manner the different movements which are caused in the soul,  the good so as to receive them, the bad so as to reject them. They are more proper to the first week.’

The second more subtle set of rules, often referred to as ‘Second Week Rules’ and consist of eight rules. These are described as, ‘Rules for the same effect which greater discernment of spirits and they help more for the second week.’

Starting in January 2018 – I am dedicating a blog from time to time to discuss each of the rules, this is in response to various requests from readers and also in recognition that as we are attempting to recover this charism of ‘Discernment in Common’.   This page is to help locate them and will take about a year to complete, please be patient and note that they won’t be dealt with in order.

First Week Rules 

Rule One (314)  Trapped in a life of sin

Rule Two (315)  Trying to live a good life

Rule Three (316) On Spiritual Consolation  –   March 9th 

Rule Four (317)   On Spiritual Desolation

Rule Five (318)  Firmness and Constancy in Desolation

Rule Six (319) Tactics in Desolation

Rule Seven (320) Resisting temptation in Desolation

Rule Eight (321)  Patience in Desolation

Rule Nine (322) 3 causes of Desolation

Rule Ten (323)  Preparing in Consolation

Rule Eleven (324) Growing in Humility                

Rule Twelve (325) The Bad Spirit as a Spoilt Child

Rule Thirteen (326) The Bad Spirit as a False Lover

Rule Fourteen (327) The Bad Spirit as a General laying siege


Second Week Rules 

Rule One (329)  More Subtle Movements in the Second Week

Rule Two (330) Consolation without Cause

Rule Three (331) False Consolation

Rule Four (332) The Bad Spirit disguised as an Angel of Light  – Jan 13th 

Rule Five (333)  Tracking our movements

Rule Six (334)   The Serpents Tail  – Jan 13th 

Rule Seven (335)  Water hitting a Stone or Sponge – Feb 20th

Rule Eight (336)  The Afterglow  – Feb 2nd