Friday, June 03, 2005

Dryness in Prayer

Someone has asked if I would comment further on the subject of dryness in prayer.

While I must admit to not always being particularly apt at dealing with it in my own prayer life, I will share some brief insights.

1. It seems that for whatever reason sometimes it's God's will that we experience unsatisfactory prayer (or at least prayer that doesn't meet our own expectations) for a time. This can be a means of further appreciating our prayer life as a whole, lest we take for granted the graces we receive in prayer. It also, honestly, at times seems to happen for reasons that only God knows. However, I am convinced of the importance of persevering in our practice of prayer, even during long periods of dryness.

2. We are not meant to pray in the same way for the entirety of our life. So, I once had a breakthrough in a period of dryness when my spiritual director suggested to me the possibility that "maybe God is inviting you to pray in a new way."

3. St. Ignatius also insists that Jesuits constantly practice a form of prayer that is always fruitful. He callls it "the examen." Jesuits are urged--and this is a practice everyone could benefit from--to stop twice a day to prayerfully reflect on the events of the day and ask oneself questions along the following lines: Where was God present in the events of my day and in my interactions with other people? Where was God not present? In what ways did I succumb to sin during this day, and how might I need to be reconciled with others as a result? In what ways did I succeed in fulfilling God's will for my life? This is a type of prayer that will always produce concrete results!!

I hope that helps.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Archbishop Luis Martinez in his book "While Jesus Sleeps" deals with the topic of dryness in prayer. St Therese of Liseux suffered through very long periods of dryness in prayer. Archbishop Martinez relates that St Therese refers to these times as Jesus sleeping in the little boat of her soul. Jesus appears to be sleeping and not noticing our prayers but His heart is always watching us and He is working in our souls without us being aware of it and bringing us closer to Him.

I think it was one of the Carmelite mystics who said that consolations (knowledge that Jesus is with us when we pray) are a luxury and we should not be demanding to receive such 'sweet consolations' every time we pray but rather delight in them when they come and just carry on in Faith at other times.

12:48 AM  

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