Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
A temporary darkening of the mind and disturbance of the will and emotions, permitted by God to purify the souls of his followers. It may be caused by the evil spirit or brought on by a variety of other causes, but it is always purposeful, namely to withdraw a person's affections from dwelling on creatures and bring them closer to the Creator. (Etym. Latin de, from + solus, alone" desolatio, devastation, loneliness.)