There is in our Christian tradition, a hidden wisdom that deserves to be revealed in order to help all those who are experiencing spiritual dryness. You know... these painful moments in our lives where we wonder why our prayer life doesn’t give us the same strong feeling as in the past, or when we have the impression that God is no longer present. Many are those who sink into discouragement because they do not understand why their spiritual life is drained. They feel disoriented, lost and frustrated because their efforts fail to give them the satisfaction of a life-giving and energizing spiritual life. Doubt leads them to question their way of praying and their usual way of meeting God.
"Lord, where are you? Why don’t you answer my prayers? I feel lost and miserable because I no longer know where to find you. What am I doing wrong? Life was so beautiful last year while I walked hand in hand with you Lord, but now I feel nothing, all is empty and I feel like letting go of everything. I no longer have the desire to pray.” Can you relate to these words? Do they describe your state of mind? If so, it is therefore very important to understand what is happening. You should know that it is normal to live this discouragement or this "spiritual dryness”. Let's look briefly at what is really happening.
It is possible that this spiritual dryness is caused by your own fault. Then admit it immediately, ask for forgiveness and seek to correct it as soon as possible. Spiritual dryness can occur if we have attachments to this world. If my heart desires the temporary pleasures of this world rather than those of heaven, this directly affects my spiritual life. Spiritual laziness (sloth) can also do great damage. Initially, this laziness manifests itself by a period or a temporary choice to omit a religious exercise (mass, pious devotion, prayer, acts of charity, etc.). This poison seeps gradually and reaches the soul of a person to the point that it puts an end to all that is religious and the soul finds pleasure only in the things of this world. Consequently, the spiritual life eventually dies slowly.
However, you should know that there is also a spiritual dryness that God allows in order to help us grow in his intimacy. God has only one desire – to give Himself entirely to the soul who really loves Him and who sincerely seeks Him. And yet to accomplish this, God sometimes chooses to hide, to withdraw from us in order to awaken in us the desire to find Him. The experience can be long and painful.
There is a very simple but very profound reality to grasp here. The dryness which was experienced in our spiritual life is due to the fact that we seek God for selfish reasons. In order to make us grow in faith and love, God must wean us of this satisfaction. He wants us to seek and to love him only for himself and not only for what He can give us. It is often difficult for us to understand and live this reality because we're so accustomed to just focus on ourselves. We want to meet our own needs to the point of making of our prayer time a time to find spiritual pleasure for ourselves. God therefore purifies our love and we experience spiritual dryness. We must therefore move forward in faith, even in these moments and not turn back.
Bishop Marcel Damphousse