Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dry

This Lent has been a wonderful reminder of how desperately I need Christ as my Savior.

I started out early, imagining big plans of grand penances.

Instead this Lent has been an appropriately humbling time in which the little things that are usually a part of my everyday routine, like praying the Divine Office (at least in the morning and at night) and praying the rosary as a family at night (which we've been doing for years) have suddenly become infinitely more difficult.

I could blame the pregnancy, but I think that would be more than a little bit dishonest.  If I can go out and walk 4-8 miles every day than I certainly have the energy to say my prayers before heading out the door.  And while there has been a certain amount of forgetfulness involved, there have been equal part procrastination and laziness too (spiritually).

I woke up this morning, while the apartment was still silent, and tried to pray in the darkness, asking for forgiveness for my utter failure to do half of the things I promised to do when Lent began... and felt absolutely and complete spiritual dryness.  As I lay still, knowing that any movement, no matter how silent, seems to wake up the entire house (it's like they have a Mommy-radar!) I couldn't help but think that it this time, between Good Friday and Easter Vigil, that the lack of feeling that is spiritual dryness seemed particularly appropriate.

I've struggled with not getting to wrapped up in feelings, or linking my faith to any consolations I've been blessed to receive.  Faith isn't about how we feel.  Since my confirmation, and by and large for the past six years since I began attending Mass, when I pray I usually feel comforted or joyous or some other positive emotion.  During and immediately after the miscarriage the feelings were much stronger, an intense feeling of being comforted and uplifted during the days that followed the loss, especially when I prayed.  A quiet warmth would spread over me as I prayed, even the least focused of prayers and I would try to remind myself that while the feelings were pleasant, they're absence (for I was acutely aware that they could be taken away) shouldn't change anything at all.  For God is God, regardless of how I feel about him at the moment.

This is only the second time I've felt, or more specifically not felt, the way I do this morning.  The first time it was for fleeting moments while I was praying and I panicked.  The not feeling was so strong and I almost felt as if the air had been sucked out of the room.  It was a hole, a silence where there had always been a pleasant hum of love that had carried me along, shortcomings and all.  It didn't last long, only a few minutes, and I wondered if God had found my faith so horribly lacking in those moments when I was not being supported by pleasant palatable feelings of hope and love and had decided that I wasn't quite ready for whatever spell of dryness he had in store.  Or perhaps, it was only a glimpse of what could be, a reminder, yet again, not to be overly attached to feelings that should not be the source of our faith.

This morning I am not feeling panicked (yet?  If this Lent has showed me nothing else it's certainly showed me my own weaknesses, and panic is certainly a distinct possibility I know I'm capable of).  I'm planning on carrying through with our plans of going to confession.  After all, if I'm feeling as if God is far off and distant at the moment I know I'll need to cling all the more tightly to the sacraments.  And perhaps I'm a little less afraid this time around because I know that Easter is right around the corner, and whether I feel inspired or not, the stone will be rolled away and our Savior will be resurrected along with the hope that we might rise with him.

4 comments:

CarrieAnne said...

Thank you for this post. I feel like I've failed during Lent. For example, I don't drink soda. My teenager gave up soda for Lent. Guess what I craved mightily (and drank!). I prayed the rosary LESS (if you can believe it).

I really enjoyed this article:
http://liveholiness.com/2010/03/so-you-failed-now-what/

Enjoy your Easter! Thanks for you help along our family's Catholic journey. You've played a huge part in my decision to do RCIA. This time next year I'll be home!

PlainCatholic said...

Jesus promised that as we grow closer to Him we would become more like Him. On the cross he cried "why have you forsaken me?". We can truly relate to all of Christ's events when we have spiritual dryness. It helps strengthen our faith to be able to trust God without feeling anything in return. I see it as spiritual boot camp.

May you have a truly blessed Eastertide.

The.Baroness.Von.Korf said...

Happy Coming into the church Anniversary. And Happy Easter tomorrow (today I guess at this point).

Liz said...

Cam,
I just read something by St. Francis de Sales today where he said that prayers when you are in the midst of spiritual dryness are especially pleasing to God. Those prayers that are acts of the will are harder prayers to pray than the ones when you are feeling very spiritual. He likened it to dried roses whose fragrance is even sweeter than the live flower. I powered through some parts of Lent myself, saying a Rosary very late at night because I didn't get around to doing it earlier in the day. Those weren't always the most meaningful Rosaries from my perspective, so it was really nice to read that today. I really recommend St. Francis de Sales, he's such a gentle writer, but he really calls you upward and onward.