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Ways to Deal with Spiritual Dryness

For me it is always night, always dark, black night. Dryness and drowsiness--such is the state of my soul in its intercourse with Jesus! But since my Beloved wishes to sleep, I shall not prevent Him. -- St. Therese of Lisieux Anyone who follows the way of Our Lord will experience dryness in prayer. This is normal and to be expected. Do not be afraid.

Here are three different images which might be helpful to a person who prays.

Jesus and I are building a house where we will dwell together. The footings are in and ready. Together we lay a course of stone blocks. Using mortar, we place them carefully. We add several more courses, scraping off excess mortar, making sure that all is level. Then we go sit together under a nearby shade tree and wait for it all to dry. We rest.

Or going to a stream to get water, we find it has temporarily dried up. As we walk along its banks, we find unexpected fruits. We can enjoy them on our walk or take them home and make jam.

Or we may use Therese of Lisieux's image. We are a little ball in the hands of the Child Jesus and He puts the ball aside for a while. We wait until He returns.

All these similes, metaphors, analogies are ways for us to understand that dryness is not a punishment. We are all pilgrims on the way to eternal life and union with the Beloved. Dryness is part of the process.

Remember that Our Blessed Mother endured the quintessential dryness during those hours that her Son was in the tomb. So let us, with the Holy Spirit's help, straighten our spine, stop whining, take our Mother's hand, and continue on the journey.

Saint Therese of Lisieux offers this advice: When I am in this state of spiritual dryness, unable to pray or to practice virtue, I look for little opportunities for the smallest trifles to please Jesus, such as a smile, a kindly word when I would rather be silent. . . . If no such occasion offers itself, I try at least to say over and over again that I love Him. --

Therefore, let us practice patience. Let us be kind to one another and kind about ourselves. Let us praise and thank the Lord Jesus for His loving kindness and rejoice in the "Blessed Three" Who dwell within us.

-- Lucy St. Michael (Lucy St. Michael is the pen name of a member of the Confraternity of Penitents)

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