Friday, July 10, 2009

Spiritual Desolation: Part III

It is well to remember, however, that aridity is not always a
chastisement; at times it is a disposition of divine providence for our
greater spiritual profit and to keep us humble. Lest St. Paul become
vain on account of the spiritual gifts he had received, the Lord
permitted him to be tempted to impurity: “And lest the greatness of the
revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, an
angel of Satan to buffet me [70] .”

Prayer made amid sensible devotion is not much of an achievement:
“There is a friend, a companion at the table, and he will not abide in
the day of distress [71] .” You would not consider the casual guest at
your table a friend, but only him who assists you in your need without
thought of benefit to himself. When God sends spiritual darkness and
desolation, his true friends are known.

Palladius, the author of the “Lives of the Fathers of the Desert,”
experiencing great disgust in prayer, went seeking advice from the
abbot Macarius. The saintly abbot gave him this counsel: “When you are
tempted in times of dryness to give up praying because you seem to be
wasting your time, say: ‘Since I cannot pray, I will be satisfied just
to remain on watch here in my cell for the love of Jesus Christ!’
“Devout soul, you do the same when you are tempted to give up prayer
just because you seem to be getting nowhere. Say: “I am going to stay
here just to please God.” St. Francis de Sales used to say that if we
do nothing else but banish distractions and temptations in our prayers,
the prayer is well made. Tauler states that persevering prayer in time
of dryness will receive greater grace than prayer made amid great
sensible devotion.

Uniformity With God's Will
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori


Anonymous said...

Oh...I just love this! I read this some time ago and it still sticks with me.

Linda said...

As you can probably tell I have to keep reminding myself. lol.

Even today I was thinking how lonely we can be even at home with family and children all around us. There are times when I have such lofty thoughts about things, or God is doing something really great within me and I have no one to share it with, and I am not very good with expressing myself. I have a friend who has been very sick lately and she was like my mouth piece. Sort of like Moses and Aaron. I so miss her :(