Fifth Rule. The fifth: In time of desolation never to make a change; but to be firm and constant in the resolutions and determination in which one was the day preceding such desolation, or in the determination in which he was in the preceding consolation. Because, as in consolation it is rather the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad, with whose counsels we cannot take a course to decide rightly.
HOW MANY times I have read this with relief!!! It is the perfect assurance that all those negative thoughts and emotions that are pulling me down and away are WRONG to tell me that everything is useless and not worth trying.
This is the rule that jumps up, waves its arms in your face and shouts: WAIT!! Don't quit. Don't stop. Don't give in. It's just a little desolation clouding your thoughts...keep going on this road that God made clear to you not so long ago when you felt his closeness. And then wait for Him to give you that clarity again.
Side note: The desolation that comes from sinning is not what St Ignatius is addressing here. And if you are unsure about what is the source of your desolation (because it can get pretty confusing during these times!) either review the previous rules or hold tight because he identifies ways to deal with that problem in the next couple of rules.
I will be leaving for Nepal in the morning. I'll be gone for a couple of weeks. I hope to finish this when I get back!