“Who is the good spirit?” by St. Ignatius of Loyola

From an Ignatian discernment of spirits perspective, “the good spirit” or “the true spirit” includes not only God but also anything else that would lead me closer to God.

  1. God – in His direct action in the human heart.
  2. Good angels – ministering spirits who serve God in helping us.
  3. Grace – God’s working in us: sanctifying grace, the theological, cardinal, and moral virtues, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and individual charisms.
  4. Any influence for the good – that surrounds us in the world and in the communion of the saints.

Therefore, we consider “the good spirit” in a global & broad way.

  • “We, may say, therefore, that all persons and influences that move us toward the will of God are comprised in the term “good spirit.” All of these are ultimately referable to God, their origin and their final goal” (Gallagher, DS, 67).

Here’s another good definition of “the good spirit”

  • “The good spirit is the “inner pull” towards God and towards from His loving plan for me and for the world” (Fr. Thibodeaux).

Here’s an interesting list of “the good spirit”

  • “The true spirit equals the Holy Spirit plus good in the world, plus happy life circumstances such as good health or sunny weather, plus life-affirming experiences and behaviours, plus psychological well-being and strength” (Fr. Thibodeaux).

Here’s a helpful example to explain the identification of “the good spirit”:

  • “If I’m kind to my father one day, is it b/c of the Holy Spirit within me or b/c my father raised me well or b/c I had a good night’s sleep? My answer is yes! The convergence of these factors pulls toward life affirmation that we call the influence of the true spirit” (Fr. Thibodeaux, God’s Voice Within, pgs. 12-3).
The good spirit vs. the bad spirit
  • Whereas the bad spirit, although not to be taken lightly because he is of a higher ontological order than we as a purely spiritual being, is ultimately no more than a fallen creature…
  • the good spirit is the omnipotent and infinite God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, who loves us with an eternal, personal, warm, and faithful love. This gives us hope!
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