“Ask a Priest: Is It Wrong to Desire Consolation in Prayer?”

Want to rate this?

Q: I read an article on penance that said “excessive desires for spiritual consolations or sweetness in prayer” is not good. What does that mean? I thought it was good to have a desire for spiritual consolations and sweetness in prayer. – V.F.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: There is nothing wrong with enjoying spiritual consolations or “sweetness” in prayer.

These can be gifts that God uses to encourage us, especially when we first make that decision to get serious about our spiritual lives. The consolations are like spiritual sweets that motivate us.

They should not distract us, however, from the main point of prayer, which is to give glory to God and to try to connect with him and to discern his will. So ideally, we need to seek his glory, not our good feelings.

Sooner or later, God will likely withdraw feelings of consolation, since he wants to purify our motivations.

When we don’t receive consolations but still pray, that is more commendable, since we have to make more of an effort to pray. And since it’s harder for us, it can be more meritorious.

Again, consolations aren’t bad. They are gifts from God. When we get them, we can relish them.

But that is also the moment to ask God to deepen the graces in our life. Moreover, we should pray to be able to handle the periods of desolation that will inevitably arise.

For more resources, see the material at this link on the third and fourth rules of Ignatian discernment. God bless.


Keep learning more with Ask a Priest

Got a question? Need an answer?

Today’s secular world throws curve balls at us all the time. AskACatholicPriest is a Q&A feature that anyone can use. Just type your question HERE, and you will get a personal response back from one of our priests at RCSpirituality. You can ask about anything – liturgy, prayer, moral questions, current events… Our goal is simply to provide a trustworthy forum for dependable Catholic guidance and information. So go ahead and ask your question…

Average Rating

What did you think?

Share your review! Just log in or create your free account.

Leave a Reply

Get the Answers!

Get notified of future Ask a Priest answers via email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content