St. Ignatius was keenly sensitive to interior motions that draw us away from God – proposing things that bring us away from God as pleasurable, or things that bring us toward God as undesirable. He called these “desolation.” And he proposed that we work against – “agere contra” – desolation, that is, that we work against our unfreedoms in our relationship with our selves in our relationship with God. This is in his “Rules For the Discernment of Spirit.” “Agere contra” is as much a principle of Ignatian Spirituality as is “magis” or “finding God in all things” or “ad majorem Dei gloriam.” It is what fasting and abstinence are all about, especially in the season of Lent. Concretely, if you habitually postpone doing your homework because you just have to watch TV for two hours every night, “agree contra” may mean that you decide to watch TV less. If you truly dislike the person who grates against your spirit at work, “agere contra” may mean that you decide to communicate with and understand that person better. If you normally think you know everything better than others and so have the right to lecture all who approach you, “agere contra” may mean that you consciously pause and listen to what others have to say.
Link (here) to full post by Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. is a Jesuit Priest and currently President of Ateneo de Naga University. He chairs the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Asia Pacific, as well as the Committee on Advocacy of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines. He is a board member of the Coordination Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) in the Philippines.